Once Upon a Time in West Toronto
a novel by Terri Favro

260 Pages
September 15, 2017
Fiction All Titles Novel



Once Upon a Time in West Toronto a novel by Terri Favro

A gritty tragi-comic fairy tale of sexual obsession and longing, based in equal parts on the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice and the spaghetti westerns of Sergio Leone, Once Upon A Time In West Toronto is the story of outsiders reinventing themselves in Toronto's immigrant neighbourhoods from the 1970s to the present. It follows the adventures of Ida, an Italian proxy bride who came to Canada married a man she’d never met,, only to run off with his son; her lover, the brilliant ditch digger, Marcello; Bum Bum, a virtuous thief; and various hustlers, forgers and whores. A companion book to Terri Favro's award-winning novella, The Proxy Bride, the book uses historical events in Italy and Canada to create a fast-paced and entertaining read that is both heartrending and hilarious.

Terri Favro has been a winner and a shortlisted finalist in numerous literary competitions, including the CBC Creative Non-fiction Prize. Her work has appeared in numerous anthologies including Clockwork Canada, a Canadian Steampunk story collection. In 2014, she won the Accenti Magazine Award for short fiction, awarded at Montreal’s Blue Metropolis Literary Festival. She is the author of an award-winning novella, The Proxy Bride, and the recent novel, Sputnik’s Daughter. Her stories draw on her background in the Niagara region as the youngest child of an Italian family that loved science fiction, good wine, gadgetry, comic books, hot rods, daredevils and dark humour. Visit her blog at terrifavro.ca. She lives in Toronto.

     Ida crouches in the field, paring knife in one hand, battered metal
bowl in the other. Resting her elbows on the knees of her sagging peddle
pushers, she digs around the base of the plant, yanking the stem and
roots out of the ground; it’s easier to take the whole weed and clean it
later, even though all she needs are the leaves. Traffic flies overhead,
thickening the air with exhaust fumes and the sounds of brakes and
engines blurring into car radios: Tie a yellow ribbon Angie you’re so
ten-fifty CHUM rainy night in Georgia scorcher again today in the
golden horseshoe war what is it good for absolutely nothing a thousand
yellow ribbons round the old oak tree.
     Lily crouches next to her. She’s wearing two different tennis shoes,
one blue, one pink. Only the pink shoe has laces.
     “Why are you digging up the dandelions?” Lily asks, picking a scab
off one knee.
     “I make an insalata for my husband to eat.”
     Ida stumbles over huz-BAND, the consonants grinding against each
other like hard cheese on a rasp. Like many English words, she finds
husband a little harsh. It could use a few more vowels. Hus-a-band.
Husa-banda. My husabanda Marcello.
     She also stumbles over husband because it’s a bald-faced lie — what
Marcello calls ‘a smokescreen’ – to cover up the fact that she has another
husband — well, not another, she can only have one: Marcello’s
father, Senior. Unless the old man grants her an annulment or dies,
Marcello can never be her husabanda, a mildly incestuous situation
that is scandalous even by the slackening moral standards of 1974.
     Inamorato is the correct word for what Marcello is to Ida, but makes
him sound like a dashing Renaissance prince rather than a melancholic
muscle-bound ditch digger who spends most of his time down manholes.
He reminds her of a line from a favourite old film, Mezzogiorno
di Fuoco — in English, High Noon:
     You’re a good-looking boy: you’ve big, broad shoulders. But it takes
more than big, broad shoulders to make a man.

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