What book would you recommend to readers?
Oscar of Between, by Betsy Warland.
What is the book about?
Identity and memory.
What makes it a “great read”?
Betsy weaves so many apparently disparate ideas into a beautiful whole. It is genre and gender bending. Like the blurring of lines between documentary and narrative film, this book weaves memoir and poetry and refuses easy categorization. One finds oneself unsettled in a good way, the same way I silently question a baby’s gender if it is not revealed.
Why do you recommend this book to readers?
Because it is a brilliant meditation on identity.
Who might be interested in this book?
If you liked Anne Dillard’s For The Time Being, you will enjoy this. If you are interested in identity and deep thought.
What drew you to this book?
I heard Betsy read from this book at an event we were both reading at. I was immediately transfixed.
How many times have you read this book?
Once through plus repeatedly with certain parts.
Can you describe your favourite part or element of the book?
I love how it peels an onion, going round and round from different perspectives. I love its meditations on identity and grief. “Shared recollection becoming solitary recollection” of memory… the accretion of grief around that. It is such a beautiful meditation by someone looking back at their life through a new lens.
Nelson, B.C. poet, Jane Byers, “came out” with her 2nd poetry collection, Acquired Community, in October 2016 (Dagger Editions). It is a 2017 Golden Crown Literary Society Award Winner for Poetry and is featured on All Lit Up’s Top Ten Social Justice publications in Canada. Her debut poetry collection, Steeling Effects is published by Caitlin Press (March, 2014). Jane has had poems and essays published in various literary journals in Canada, the U.S. and England, including Best Canadian Poetry 2014. She is the 2017-18 Writer-In-Residence for the Archives of Lesbian Oral Testimony at Simon Fraser University.