cover image The Resurrection of Mary Mabel McTavish

The Resurrection of Mary Mabel McTavish

Allan Stratton. Dundurn (IPG, U.S. distribution; UTP, Canadian dist.), $21.99 tr

Driven to the brink of suicide by the thoughtlessly abusive adults around her, young Mary Mabel McTavish gains unsought fame when she brings Timmy Beeford back from the dead. A woman who can work miracles is of incomparable value to the con artists, newspaper magnates and well-intended extremists of the Depression era. guided by her late mother's voice, Mary Mabel is caught in a storm of attention as adults from skeptical reporter K.O Doyle to the intermittently lucid Brother Percy Brubacher contend to define and exploit her, scarcely considering what her views in the matter might be. Stratton's (Chanda's Secrets) comedic examination of celebrity in a bygone era, the novel acknowledges that media frenzies are in no way a uniquely modern phenomenon, nor is the way the people at the center of these frenzies are often helpless to prevent their public images from being molded to suit the great and powerful, the ambitious and the brazen opportunists. As the plot weaves back and forth across Canada and America, celebrities from Hoover to Hearst are skewered, but at no point does the book lose sight of its essential good nature or that of its protagonist. (May)