counter on blogger

Pickle Me This

February 3, 2021

And This is the Cure, by Annette Lapointe

So you could pitch it like this: imagine every Miram Toews book you have ever read—A Complicated Kindness, Irma Voth, The Flying Troutmans, All My Puny Sorrows, Women Talking, Summer of My Amazing Luck, Swing Low, I mean everything—all packed together in a single volume. Which is only misleading, because it makes it sound derivative, which it isn’t. So how about this instead: former cult member turned riot grrrl writes a tell-all memoir and finds fame as house of a Canadian broadcasting culture flagship pop culture radio show after its former host (a noted sexual predator) flames out in disgrace, but then her past life comes back to haunt her when her ex-husband is murdered and her estranged 11 year-old daughter is returned to her care, which means she’s forced to confront her ex’s conservative, religious family and their disdain for her, all the while she’s trying to stay on her meds and keep as stable as possible as she avoids confronting the trauma buried in her past, which does not necessary lie where she thinks it does…and then her band goes on tour in Japan.

And This is the Cure is the third novel by Annette Lapointe, whose first book Stolen was nominated for the Scotiabank Giller Prize in 2006. I also really appreciated her second White Tail Shooting Gallery in 2013, writing in a blog post that the book, “baffled me throughout, disturbed and troubled me, but it also intrigued me, continually surprised me, never stopped me wondering what would happen next…” And the same stands for her latest, which I loved. A book that ostensibly should be too much—how can a person fit so many things into a single novel?—but which works, is eminently readable. Mostly because of Allison Winter, Lapointe’s stunning fictional creation, a woman who is shattered and still standing, flawed and perfect, terrified and brave, smart and ridiculous, loving and fierce, damaged and whole, missing and present. A singular creation: regarding her daughter as a baby, she says, “I’d happily have killed things for her, but I would have preferred her to stay at home, in someone else’s custody, while I did it… I’d have made a decent, if absent, father.”

She’s the trickiest narrator, withholding information about her story until the present drags it out of her. She’s also unapologetic with a ferocity that never wavers, and I love that. Her unreliability turns the novel into the most fascinating, many-sided shape, but her perspective is still a steady one, the compass point that guides the reader through so much stuff. A lesser writer would have had this whole book come off its rails, but Lapointe nails it, unbelievably. I loved it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Pre-Order my New Novel: Out October 27

Book Cover WAITING FOR A STAR TO FALL

Sign up for Pickle Me This: The Digest

Best of the blog delivered to your inbox each month! The Digest also includes news and updates about my creative projects and opportunities for you to work with me.

Stop Wondering about Blogging, and Build a Blog That’s Wonder-Full:

Get My New Free Download: 5 MORE Prompts to Bring Back Your Blogging Spark!

Photo Kerry Clare with her Laptop

My Books

The Doors
Twitter Pinterest Pinterest Good Reads RSS Post