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Leaving Now

He Leaves His Face in the Funeral Car is elegiac, lyrical, ironic; a series of reflections, recollections; a collection about relationships—to family, clocks, water, trees, ungulates, endings—recognizing that not all relationships are straightforward: a mother’s secret false teeth, a teakettle riddled with bullet holes, pears and small knives. To leave a face in the funeral car is to fall out of time, to fall into history, to ponder the meanings of dust, the quiet records of suicide. This is poetry that covers a broad range, wide and changing, the strangeness of everyday life buoyed by the solace of language, the pleasure of song. Each word in its right place, each poem reflecting beyond surface meaning.


SKU: 9781894759748 Categories: ,

In Leaving Now Arleen Paré, winner of the 2014 Governor General’s Award for Poetry, weaves fable, prose and poetics to create a rich mosaic of conflicted motherhood. Set in the volatile 1970s and ’80s, when social norms and expectations were changing rapidly, Leaving Now is the emotionally candid story of a mother’s anguish as she leaves her husband to love a woman. In this second book, Paré masterfully blends aspects of her personal journey with her own version of a well-loved fairy tale. Gudrun, the five-hundred-year-old mother of Hansel and Gretel, appears hazily in the narrator’s kitchen—presumed dead, all but written out of her own tale, but very much alive. Gudrun spins a yarn of love, loss and leaving, offering comfort and wisdom to the conflicted young mother.

Raising children is not for the faint of heart; all parents know the anguish of parting from a child, even if for the briefest moment. Leaving Now is for mothers, fathers, sons and daughters. It is for anyone who has ever lived in a family.

Dimensions 8 × 5.5 in






Page Count

168 pages



Year of Publication



Arleen Paré


Caitlin Press


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Editorial Review

“[A]n unsettling, tender lyric, beautifully written in a mixture of poems, prose fragments and fairytales, a story like no other. Read it if you’re a mother. Read it if you’re not. It’s a splendid, unique contribution to our country’s literature.”
—Lorna Crozier

Paré is a past winner of the Victoria Butler Book Prize, and it is easy to see why. She moves seamlessly between poetry and prose in the pages of Leaving Now, writing with an obvious respect for language. By making the choice to incorporate as much poetry into the novel as she does, Paré limits the actual number of words that makes up her story. There is a significant amount of white space in an already slim book, so it is especially important that the right words are in the right spaces. It’s a job Paré has done very well.
Colin Holt, the Times Colonist

"Paré’s character, let’s call her Mum, tells her story in prose, poetry and fairy tales. The boundaries of genre are stretched just as Mum stretches the possibilities of life. As with our memories that appear in a mysterious and circular way, events don’t unfold chronologically in Leaving Now. Are we here? Have we left? Are we just planning to leave? The white space in the book offers a kind of relief. Separating from one’s husband and children requires some deep breathing and is always heart-wrenching. That’s true for anyone I would say. In my case, I did exactly what the character in this book did and at the same time.”
—Mary Ann Moore, Story Circle Book Reviews

"Leaving Now is sometimes harrowing, occasionally funny, often heartbreaking and always engrossing.Paré’s distinctive style artfully mixes poetry, personal journal, feminist socio-political analysis and literary analysis of fairy tales. You can read the book with pleasure for its overall cleverness, for its emotional depth, for its poetry or for its setting in Montreal and Vancouver. You can read it as a heroic quest by the narrator to integrate personal truths within their historical moments and the literary traditions by which we try to understand our lives. Just read it."
—Debby Yaffe, Herizons