Friday, May 08, 2009

Fiction: Perfecting by Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer

Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer just keeps getting better. And that’s saying something, because everything she’s offered thus far has been worthy of note.

Kuitenbrouwer’s debut novel, The Nettle Spinner, was included in January Magazine’s 2005 Best of the Year. “Here is a very clever tale that bites as much as the nettle,” said January’s reviewer at the time. “Kuitenbrouwer writes with such confidence and authority that discovering this is her first novel seems almost as astonishing as the feat of those nettle spinners, separated in time by centuries but joined by shared themes.”

Four years later, Kuitenbrouwer is back with an intensely ambitious tale that moves her readers over 30 years, from New Mexico to Ontario and from roadside crime to the community and machinations of a rural cult.

Perfecting (Goose Lane) is slender, but there are hints of the epic here and though Kuitenbrouwer’s style is muscular and spare, one gets the feeling that more would have been better. Perfecting is tight, certainly and it’s not that anything has been left out, but I found myself wanting more.

Still, that’s a quibble and, indeed, a high class complaint. Kuitenbrouwer has fulfilled the promise of The Nettle Spinner. This Toronto-based author continues to be one of the hot new Canadian voices to watch.

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