Sunday, November 14, 2010
FAUNA by Alissa York (2010) RandomHouse Canada
I've been dipping into FAUNA for a few weeks, taking my time, having surrendered completely to York's world. It is a gorgeous book both inside and out.
Protagonist Edal Jones is on leave from her job as a federal wildlife officer, having witnessed one too many humans smuggling in rare creatures and killing most in the process. One morning, as she's cycling through the empty streets at the heart of Toronto, Edal watches a young girl and her big black dog rescuing birds that have knocked themselves out on the city's glass skyscrapers. Edal follows Lily to a wrecker's yard and there meets more waifs and strays both animal and human who seek refuge in this unexpected haven.
York creates memorable characters in Edal, Lily, Guy and Stephen-- all vulnerable and deeply wounded--and suggests that literature itself offers emotional balm as they gather to hear Guy read from Kipling.
What most amazed me about this novel is the confidence from which the narrative unfurls from the perspectives of raccoons, skunks and coyotes as well as from the mouths and minds of the humans.
FAUNA is a billet-doux to Toronto's wildlife community and to broken souls everywhere.
If you are in Toronto, come to Ben McNally Books (366 Bay Street, south of Richmond) on Tues. Nov. 16th at 7:30 PM and get your own copy of FAUNA personalized by Alissa York. It makes a wonderful gift and an even better treat for yourself.