Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A Writer of Substance: Annette Bower

While reading Regina writer Annette Bower's warm and witty new novel, Woman of Substance, I began thinking about labels — the ones we apply to fiction and our lives. I'm also thinking about identity and disguise, and what we miss by not looking deeper. At people. And at books.

Although the quick judgments that lead to labeling may be based on only a few superficial details, we cling to the results as crucial to identity — our own, or that attributed to other people or things.

And for many of us, at least some of the time, physical appearance implies character and value — an issue Annette explores in Woman of Substancein which her female protagonist is at the same time Robbie, a slim graduate student, and Robin, a woman who shops at the plus-sized boutique. (The plot thickens when Robbie and Robin meet the same men — Frank Proctor, and his grandson, Jake.. No spoilers; read the book! And drop by tomorrow, when Annette visits Latitude Drifts to discuss her latest novel.)

I wonder about the degree to which readers — and writers — judge books by their appearance, too. By genre: literary, vs romance. And if not by their covers, by publishing formats.

E-books vs paper books. Do eyes still slide away from novels that live in e-libraries, not on bookshelves? If there is a publishing hierarchy, how long can it last with the quick purchase and reading convenience of electronic readers? And the reading enjoyment of books like Woman of Substance, a well-written and wise novel?

Bravo, Annette!


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