The Shape I Gave You

Ulrike Hugenot is a young pianist who arrives home to her Berlin apartment and discovers a fat envelope stuffed into her mailbox. She is astonished when she realizes that it is from her late father Gustave's Canadian lover.
"I am writing to you because my daughter has died," writes Beatrice Mann. "But this explains nothing." In the eighty pages of her letter that follow, Beatrice details her decades-long love affair with Gustave Hugenot. Grief, passion, fury, regret, fear, longing-Beatrice meticulously charts these emotions through the course of her life as she unburdens herself to the young woman she has only glimpsed a few times, many years ago. Why does she choose Ulrike as her confessor? And why now, seven years after Gustave's death?
Written with great sophistication and lyricism, Martha Baillie's The Shape I Gave You compels us to place ourselves in the roles of its complicated protagonists, to hold up and scrupulously examine our own histories, our own loves and deceits, in a new and penetrating light.

Portrait
Martha Baillie was born in Toronto and educated in a French-English bilingual school. At seventeen she left for Scotland where she studied history and modern languages (French and Russian) at the University of Edinburgh. She completed her studies at the Sorbonne in Paris and at the University of Toronto. While at university, Baillie became involved in theatre. She continued to act after graduation, taking scene study workshops and classes in voice and movement, while supporting herself by waitressing and teaching private French classes. In 1981, she took an extended trip through parts of Asia including Hong Kong, China, Thailand, Burma, Nepal and India. This experience inspired her to switch her focus from acting to writing. Upon her return to Canada, she acquired an Ontario teaching certificate and briefly taught ESL to adults and French immersion to grade five students. Today, she has worked part-time for the Toronto Public Library for nearly twenty years and performs as a storyteller in schools, daycares, and at the Toronto Festival of Storytelling. Canoeing and hiking are two of her principal passions, along with visual art, the theatre and opera. Baillie’s first novel, My Sister Esther, was published in 1995, followed by Madame Balashovskaya’s Apartment in 1999. She has had poems published in journals including Descant, Prairie Fire and The Antigonish Review. Baillie has been awarded grants from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council. She lives in Toronto with her daughter and husband. About writing The Shape I Gave You, Baillie recalls: "The idea for the title came from remembering the experience of standing behind a statue of a crouching Venus in the Louvre. A child’s vestigial hand, tiny and perfect and severed at the wrist, was attached to Venus’ back, just to the left of her spine. The sight of that hand made me feel I was witnessing a child in the act of giving shape to his mother. It was an image that haunted me for quite a while after I first saw it. The tiny hand came as such a shock. Once, an entire cupid would have been clinging to his mother’s back, or climbing on for a ride. All that remained was his little, severed hand."
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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Beschreibung

Produktdetails


Format ePUB i
Kopierschutz kopiergeschützt i
Seitenzahl 256, (Printausgabe)
Erscheinungsdatum 23.07.2010
Sprache Englisch
EAN 9780307368386
Verlag Knopf Canada
eBook
18,99
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