In the middle of that time when I was writing, the library called to inform me that a book I had requested had arrived: Annabel, by Kathleen Winter.
I loved it and therefore recommend it to you all.
Kathleen Winter has created a world perfect for the exploration of a set of issues dear to our hearts; a life that crosses gender boundaries. Her setting is a small Labrador village, where the inhabitants’ yearly cycle of hunting, fishing, birthing, etc. are predictable and ultimately mind-numbingly boring, and yet this book is neither of these.
Beginning with the birth of Wayne/Annabel, a true hermaphrodite, lives are turned upside down for a while, and then settle down as much as possible, with predictable and some not so predictable undercurrents.
Winter's portrayal of events in and around Wayne's life is sensitive, but the events themselves have a harsh ring of truth for those who have been under siege by gender conflict. The scenes of school and childhood peers are particularly well fleshed with believable, not stereotypical characters. I found myself caring about many of the people who inhabit this world.
Annabel is a story more than anything else about people and their ability to survive in situations that are harsh physically and psychologically. It is a book I will read again in the future, because I know there will be more insights in the retelling.
Annabel, a novel
by Kathleen Winter
Published this year by House of Anansi Press Inc.,