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Book Title: The Convict Lover: A True Story|
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Reader ratings: 7.9
The author of the book: Merilyn Simonds
Edition: Merilyn Simonds Publications
Date of issue: September 14th 2015
ISBN: No data
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Format files: PDF
The size of the: 957 KB
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Named one of the year's best books by the Globe and Mail, Maclean's, and Elm Street magazine
“A letter,” wrote Emily Dickinson, “always seemed to me like immortality.” Letters – personal, revealing, unguarded – sometimes survive their authors and their recipients, preserving lives, inviting discovery, daring interpretation.
In a dark and stifling attic overflowing with old letters, pamphlets and clippings, author Merilyn Simonds made an incredible discovery: scores of flimsy sheets of paper, hastily scribbled upon—a clandestine correspondence between a schoolgirl living in the village of Portsmouth in 1919 and a convict imprisoned in Kingston Penitentiary, who broke stone in the quarry next to her house.
A dazzling blend of historical detective work and imaginative recreation, The Convict Lover takes the reader on a haunting, unforgettable journey through the world of Canada’s oldest, most notorious prison and the people who lived in its shadow.
A finalist for the Governor General's Award for Nonfiction and a national bestseller, The Convict Lover was adapted for the stage in 1997 by director Layne Coleman and dramaturge Carol Corbeil, playing to sold-out audiences at Kingston's Grand Theatre and Toronto's Theatre Pass Muraille. Featured in two CBC documentaries. Currently the inspiration for a new play-in-progress by Judith Thompson.
Published in 1996 in hardcover and paperback by Macfarlane, Walter & Ross, subsequently in paperback by McClelland & Stewart. Now available in paperback from the author. Published as an eBook in 2015 by Merilyn Simonds Publications. Designed and produced by Creative Bungalow.com.
Praise for The Convict Lover:
“A tour de force. Simonds’ prose is alluring, her historical detective work is flawless…”
—The Globe and Mail
“Simonds has that lucky combination of the journalist’s eye for detail and the novelist’s gift for story and character . . . if Merilyn Simonds doesn’t win some major award for this book, I think we should all go on strike.”
“. . . constantly compelling . . . The Convict Lover is a virtuoso performance that combines the factualness of a “true story” with the techniques of fiction. It conveys historical truth with unfailing accuracy because it is told with the vitality of imagination.”
—The Financial Post
“The writing in The Convict Lover is consistently fine, and at times inspired . . . the book’s themes are grand ones: the enduring power of words on a page, and how communication with another human being can make the unbearable bearable. For all the pain and darkness it describes, The Convict Lover is less a book about a dungeon than about letter as lifeline, which makes it a book about hope.”
—The Ottawa Citizen
“The Convict Lover is a riveting story that reclaims an obscure segment of Canadian history. Pushing the boundaries between fiction and nonfiction, the author illuminates the experience of imprisonment . . . She also tells secrets — a private one, about a forbidden relationship, and a larger and darker one, about Canada’s penitentiaries.”
“This is a beautifully controlled story that makes speculative use of intriguing materials. Simonds provocatively pushes the genre to its limits.”
—Jury citation, 1996 Governor General Literary Awards
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Read information about the authorMerilyn Simonds is the author of 18 books, including the novel The Holding, a New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice, and the Canadian classic nonfiction novel, The Convict Lover, a finalist for the Governor General's Award. In 2017, Project Bookmark Canada unveiled a plaque to honour the place of The Convict Lover in Canada’s literary landscape.
Simonds’ short fiction is anthologized internationally and her books are published in the UK, Europe, Asia, Canada, and the United States. In 2012 she published The Paradise Project, a collection of flash fiction hand-printed on an antique press with endpapers made from plants in her garden. The experience of producing the collection in both a digital and book-arts edition is the subject of Gutenberg’s Fingerprint: Paper, Pixels, and the Lasting Impression of Books. Her most recent publication is Refuge, a novel set in Mexico City, New York, and eastern Ontario.
Simonds writes a blog—Books Unpacked—on her website merilynsimonds.com. She shares her life with writer Wayne Grady. They divide their time between Mexico and Canada.
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