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Thursday June 30, 2016 in Books
Award-winning author Meredith Quartermain’s second novel and seventh book, U Girl, is a coming-of-age story set in Vancouver in 1972, a city crossed between love-in hip and forest-corp square.
Frances Nelson escapes her small-town background to attend first-year university in the big city. “You’ve got to find the great love,” her new friend Dagmar tells her. But what makes it love instead of sex? And what kind of love bonds friends? She gleans surprising answers from Jack, a construction worker; Dwight, a mechanic and dope peddler; Carla, a bar waitress who’s seen better days; and her English professor and sailing friend, Nigel.
U Girl blurs the line between fiction and reality as Frances begins to write a novel about the people she comes to know. With seamless metafictional play and an engagement with place that has come to be Quartermain’s definitive style, U Girl tells the story of a woman’s struggle to be taken seriously – to be equal to men despite her sexual attraction to them, and to dislodge accepted narratives of gender and class in the institution of the university during the “free love” era.
In this sprawling and perceptive novel, Quartermain takes us through sexual experimentation, drugs, working at menial jobs, meditating on Wreck Beach, sailing up through Desolation Sound, and studying at the University of British Columbia.
U Girl pays homage to local haunts and literary influences in equal measure. Quartermain brings to Canadian literature a wholesome and vital female perspective in this long-awaited bildungsroman.
On Meta-Talon, read one of our favourite scenes from U Girl.
ISBN 13: 9781772010404 | ISBN 10:
5.5 W x 8.5 H inches | 240 pages
$19.95 CAN / $19.95 US
Fiction | Backlist
QUOTES OF NOTE
“Quartermain takes her readers through the lens of a young woman challenging her small town looking glass with a much wider angle. … Much like [the protagonist, Frances’s] characters in her novel [within the novel], the pace and lessons of life are far from stagnant and [Frances] continues to forge on to a new frontier.”
—Pacific Rim Review of Books
“As a meta-narrative about the process of writing a novel, U Girl succeeds … On the one hand, we have a universal coming-of-age story, and on the other, the vivid local setting rich in its use of detail. … In the end, we are drawn convincingly into Frances’s world.”
“A whimsical pleasure to read, and at times deeply felt and affecting … it will amuse and tease anyone who has ever been young, poor and confused about life. Which must be just about everyone.”
—Vancouver Sun & Calgary Herald
“Quartermain has truly outdone herself this time. … This bildungsroman is an extraordinary new addition to Canadian literature … Readers should prepare themselves for a tidal wave of emotion, reflection, and new perceptions when they dive into Quartermain’s latest masterpiece.”
About the ContributorsMeredith Quartermain
Meredith Quartermain is celebrated across Canada for her depictions of places and their historical hauntings. Vancouver Walking (NeWest, 2005) won the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize. Nightmarker (NeWest, 2008) was a finalist for the City of Vancouver Book Award, and Recipes from the Red Planet (BookThug, 2010), her book of flash fiction, was a finalist for the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize.
We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts; the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund (CBF); and the Province of British Columbia through the British Columbia Arts Council for our publishing activities.