Synopses & Reviews
In her luminous debut novel, acclaimed writer Dianne Warren captures the honesty of the human spirit and the quest for companionship…
Juliet is a blink-and-you-miss-it kind of town—a dusty oasis on the edge of a vast stretch of sand. It’s easy to believe nothing of consequence happens here, but the hills vibrate with the rich stories of its people: Lee, a rancher afraid to accept responsibility for the land his adoptive parents left him; Norval, the bank manager forced to foreclose on his neighbors; Willard and Marian, a shy couple beyond middle age, fumbling with the recognition of their feelings for each other; Vicki, a mother of six struggling to keep her chaotic household afloat. And somewhere, lost in the sand, a camel named Antoinette.
Juliet in August unfolds over the course of just one night and day in the lives of its characters. Their stories intersect and overlap as the entire spectrum of human comedy and heartbreak is refracted through their little struggles and deeper concerns. With wit, thoughtfulness, and unforgettable characters, Juliet in August confirms Dianne Warren as a powerful new talent.
"Warren's U.S. debut is a delicate exploration of the inner lives of the inhabitants of smalltown Juliet, Saskatchewan, located on the edge of a Canadian desert. Local banker Norval Birch is weighed down by a demanding wife, a pregnant teenage daughter staring down the barrel of a shotgun wedding, and a burdensome understanding of the townsfolk's debts. Lee Torgeson, an adopted 26-year-old and reluctant rancher, struggles to come to terms with the land he has just inherited from his adoptive family, and the blank family history the vast expanse represents. Middle-aged and widowed, Marian lives with her brother-in-law, Willard, the quotidian talk between them suffused with unspoken affection that might revolutionize their relationship. Finally, haunted by the specter of poverty, Blaine and Vicki Dolson fight to maintain their marriage and the family farm, all the while caring for six kids. Though Warren attempts to meaningfully interweave these stories, she is too subtle, making the connections frustratingly opaque. Still, Warren clearly has an intimate understanding of smalltown life, and infuses Juliet with plenty of heart. Agent: Ron Eckel, Cooke International. (July 5)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
With writing reminiscent of Alice Munro, Carol Shields, Larry McMurtry, and Elizabeth Strout, Juliet in August uncovers the incredible drama beneath the inhabitants of a sleepy prairie town. Juliet, Saskatchewan, is a blink-and-you-miss-it kind of town—a dusty oasis on the edge of the Little Snake sand hills. It’s easy to believe that nothing of consequence takes place there. But the hills vibrate with life, and the town’s heart beats in the rich and overlapping stories of its people: the rancher afraid to accept responsibility for the land his adoptive parents left him; the bank manager grappling with a sudden understanding of his own inadequacy; a shy couple, well beyond middle age, struggling with the recognition of their feelings for each other. And somewhere, lost in the sand, a camel named Antoinette.
About the Author
Dianne Warren is the author of short stories and plays. This is her first novel. It won the 2010 Governor General’s Award for fiction, one of Canada’s most prestigious literary prizes (published under the title Cool Water). Warren lives in Regina, Saskatchewan.