Tuesday, July 01, 2008

New Today: Kiss the Joy As It Flies by Sheree Fitch

It’s funny to think of Sheree Fitch as a debut author. Her name is well known to Canadian children, who know her through her many bestselling books, beginning with 1989’s Sleeping Dragons All Around, through her top seller There Were Monkeys in My Kitchen from 1992 and her big favorite, Mable Murple from 1995.

However, despite the fact that Fitch has won many literary awards and has, in fact, received two honorary doctorates for her contributions to Canadian literature, Kiss the Joy as it Flies (Vagrant Press) is Fitch’s first novel. And when you read it, it’s hard not to stop and nod sometimes. The voice is familiar, you see. There’s a certain controlled looseness apparent in Fitch’s work, a certain joy in language and in the magic it can weave.

In Kiss the Joy as it Flies, a woman of strong character and middle years faces what she feels might be the end of her life. She contemplates the very meaning of life -- and, really, of living -- and thinks about all of the things she must do to put her house in order.

Kiss the Joy as it Flies is funny and heartbreaking and thought-provoking and sometimes all three -- and more -- at once.

Fitch made us wait a long time for her first novel, but it was worth it. It’s a rare and lovely book.



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