Gotta Find Me an Angel

Brenda Brooks, Author . Raincoast $21.95 (224p) ISBN 978-1-55192-717-6

This heartfelt but structurally flawed first novel by Canadian poet Brooks tries to find a place where lyricism and lesbian chick lit might meet. The unnamed 30-something narrator is a Toronto repertory cinema projectionist who finds herself increasingly crippled in her relationships, haunted by the memory of her teenage lover Madeline's death 20 years earlier. Ostensibly an outpouring of feeling to Madeline's ghost one lonely evening, the book alternates between glimpses of adolescent passion and current scenes of humorous daily life, mainly involving the narrator's narcissistic roommate, the struggling poet Billie Smart. The narrator's emotional crisis intensifies when she meets Julia Riding, an elegant and accomplished painter who stirs up the first feelings of true longing she has felt since Madeline. Over the course of the novel, the narrator struggles to surrender her memories of Madeline in order to live more fully in the present—hopefully with Julia. There are funny moments with Billie (involving the competitive publishing scene), but as the narrative moves back and forth, the nostalgic spell Brooks tries to cast breaks repeatedly. (May)

Reviewed on: 03/27/2006
Release date: 02/01/2006
Hardcover - 219 pages - 978-1-55192-829-6
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