Russian Dolls: Stories from the Breathing Castle

Coteau Books
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Russian Dolls weaves in and out of the real and imaginary worlds of Wylie, a struggling author and self-proclaimed “unreliable narrator”, as he finds and then loses his muse, Christie, in their shared home - aptly named the “Breathing Castle” - in East Vancouver. Woven into the story of their relationship are Wylie’s short stories - at once bold, humorous, whimsical and reflective. The mood of the stories ranges from good to bad to worse, depending on his relationship with his muse at the time. Meanwhile, the stories Christie chooses to tell Wylie about her past are consistently captivating, but are also dark and dangerously inconsistent. Are her stories true? Or is the enticing but erratic Christie simply the better storyteller of the two? Kinsella remains as thought-provoking and engaging as ever. In Russian Dolls he creates a panorama of dozens of new characters, all struggling to survive at the fringes of modern life, while at the same time he creates an intimate portrait of a man, his typewriter, his lover and his passion.
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About the author

W. P. “Bill” Kinsella is the award-winning writer of dozens of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry works, including Shoeless Joe (which was made into the feature film Field of Dreams). Kinsella won the Leacock Award in 1987 and in 1993 was made an Officer of the Order of Canada. In 2005, he was awarded the Order of British Columbia, and in 2009, he was awarded the George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award. He died on September 16, 2016.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Coteau Books
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Published on
Nov 15, 2016
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Pages
304
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ISBN
9781550506976
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Literary
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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I woke with a gasp. And lay in the dark, open-mouthed, holding my breath. That feeling . . . that feeling was indescribable. For a moment I had felt as if I were falling . . . falling into bliss.

All his life, Richard Kline has been haunted by a sense that something is lacking. He envies the ease with which others slip into contented suburban life or the pursuit of wealth. As he moves into middle age, Richard grows angry, cynical, depressed.

But then a strange event, a profound epiphany, awakens him to a different way of life. He finds himself on a quest, almost against his will, to resolve the 'divine discontent' he has suffered since childhood. From pharmaceuticals to New Age therapies to finding a guru, Richard's journey dramatises the search for meaning in today's world.

This audacious novel is an exploration of masculinity, the mystical and our very human yearning for something more. It is hypnotic, nuanced and Amanda Lohrey's finest offering yet - a pilgrim's progress for the here and now.

Shortlisted, 2015 Queensland Literary Awards
Shortlisted, 2015 Tasmanian Premier's Literary Prizes
Longlisted, 2016 Stella Prize

‘The nature of such mystical questing requires a steadiness of pace and a commanding style in order to prevent it floating up and away into the unfathomable … Lohrey’s skill is in keeping us suspended in the cocoon of an idea – "Is this all there is?" – a question that hums in and out of our own lives during the day, but which can suddenly ring out on dark nights with a deafening thunder.’ —Saturday Paper

‘Lohrey’s language throughout the novel is a searing delight … Without patronising, disparaging or becoming a sentimental accomplice, she gets inside the head of a serious man congenitally on the brink.’ —Age

‘Another deft life-study by Amanda Lohrey, whose recent narratives have a sardonic edge with metaphysical reach.’ —Monthly

‘The story of Richard Kline is marked by a … luminous wit, along with the quiet courage of a mind willing to countenance mysteries that our secular age refuses to broach.’ —Australian

“Honor, destiny, caprice, oblivion—Nova’s novel parlays them all into a life-and-death struggle” in this New Yorker Best Book Pick (The Seattle Times).
 
What does it mean to be a decent man? To love well, with fidelity and constancy? These are the lessons posed in this emotional metaphysical thriller by “one of our most original, brilliant, disturbing writers, who’s so fierce he’ll take on anything. Here—dark energy: of love, of the cosmos, and of the interrelationship between the two” (The New Yorker).
 
They are also lessons that Jason Brady, a wildlife biologist, tries to impart to his son, often on fishing trips to their beloved Furnace Creek. Bound up in the laws of Einstein’s theories, these lessons will ultimately influence Jake’s own career as an astronomer. Together both father and son strive to conquer their greatest challenges: marital infidelity, professional setbacks, and especially, Jake’s long term, passionate obsession with his childhood crush—a devilish wild-card named Sara who has what it takes to unbalance Jack’s world from its orbit in one shocking twist of fate.

“[A] meditative, philosophical, and beautifully realized novel about the nature of embattled American manhood” (Library Journal) by “one of our great novelists” (Dennis Lehane), The Constant Heart celebrates the bonds of father and son while exploring the intensity of love and the profound attachments between human beings, even at their most imperiled. “If you haven’t read Craig Nova, the loss is yours” (Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post).
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