For fans of Joan Didion and Sheila Heti, and reminiscent of Jenny Offill’s The Department of Speculation, THIS SIDE OF SAD is a provocative and piercing novel that lingers in mind and heart.
Meditative, philosophical, confessional, elegiac: THIS SIDE OF SAD is a many-sided novel. It is about the disintegration of a marriage, but it’s also about relationship between memory and identity; the enduring colloquy between the living and the dead; the varieties and limitations of love; and how we find meaning in the random architecture of despair and joy that makes and unmakes our lives.
Karen Smythe is the author of Stubborn Bones, a collection of short fiction (Polestar/Raincoast Books, 2001). Karen’s stories have appeared in several literary publications including Grain, Fiddlehead, Antigonish Review, Gaspereau Review, and Water Studies: New Voices in Maritime Fiction. While living in Halifax, she guest-edited the Michael Ondaatje issue of Essays on Canadian Writing and served as the fiction editor of the Pottersfield Portfolio. Figuring Grief, her ground-breaking monograph on Gallant and Munro (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1992), is still in print and widely cited. Karen is at work on her second novel.
“Smythe’s prose is powerful…The author’s choice of narrative perspective ensures that this book is likely to provoke lively debate.” – Quill & Quire
“It’s always wonderful to stumble upon what could be a sleeper, and leave it Goose Lane to have one on offer. Karen Smythe’s THIS SIDE OF SAD is due in September and it’s a stunner.” – 49th Shelf
“Karen Smythe is a bright original. Her writing is wry, visceral, intriguing, and very moving. What Smythe has done here is really quite brilliant: she has found new ways to write about a difficult subject — the peculiar passion that is longing — and to make it palpable, leaving the reader with something profound to hang onto.” –Diane Schoemperlen, award-winning author of Forms of Devotion
“Mesmerizing.” –Antanas Sileika, author of Underground
Interviews with the Author:
“I spent a lot of time actually on bulletin boards with thumbnail tacks and little paces of paper, moving them around. So that’s how it came to be.” – a captivating interview with Karen Smythe about the inner-workings of her novel THIS SIDE OF SAD via Queen Mob’s Teahouse
Karen sit down with Humber College and talks about writing this novel after graduating Humber’s Creative Writing program: Humber.ca/this-side-of-sad
Join Karen on September 21st as she launches THIS SIDE OF SAD at the eBar in Guelph on 41 Quebec Street from 7:00pm to 9:00pm!