Canada’s colourful past is within reach when Nelson author Anne DeGrace reads from her fourth novel, Flying with Amelia, at 1 p.m. April 11 at Sechelt’s Rockwood Lodge and at 1p.m. April 12 at Gibsons & District Public Library. The book takes the reader across a country and across a century, with some poignant stops along the way.
“It’s not often that a book makes me late for drinks with a friend,” wrote reviewer Candace Fertile in the Globe and Mail, “but I was in the middle of the title chapter… and I had to find out what happens to the characters. And then I had to mop the tears off my face.”
Set in 1936, Flying with Amelia uses the fictional correspondence between a Nova Scotia secretary and a Saskatchewan schoolteacher during the Great Depression, to weave the story of a young Canada from 1901 to 1999. The tale ranges from Newfoundland to BC and north to the Beaufort Sea, incorporating Amelia Earhart’s adventurous – and doomed – courage as a metaphor for hope.
The breadth and scope of the novel demanded authenticity, a challenge DeGrace found both daunting and exciting. “I love Canadian history, and I’m fascinated with how events in the history books affected regular folks, just living their lives,” DeGrace says. “I set out to cover a lot of territory, and to offer different personal views through the window of history.”
To create a narrative that linked characters and events across a great distance in both space and time, DeGrace had to get creative. “The book is part intergenerational tale, part six-degrees-of-separation, with small-world moments throughout,” she says.
Two of DeGrace’s novels, Treading Water and Sounding Line, were chosen as Chapters/Indigo Heather’s Picks. Her second novel, Wind Tails, was shortlisted for Ontario’s Evergreen Award. More information at www.annedegrace.ca.