“I wanted to go to Lourdes and swoon, soft and gauzy like Jennifer Jones in The Song of Bernadette, black and white and flickering with visions on the movie screen. I dreamed of going to the very place where Our Lady appeared to Bernadette and glorious rays of light descended upon her bowed, veiled head. Me, my fucked up sister Kat, my angry ma, my deadbeat dad, we’d be a perfect family, travelling to France together, we’d learn French before we’d go.”
~from The Children of Mary, by Marusya Bociurkiw
As teenagers in the ’70s, Sonya and Kat are trying desperately to be hip in the Ukrainian ghetto of North End Winnipeg. They experiment with everything from religion to marijuana, against a backbeat of Abba songs, Olivia Newton ballads, and endless reciting of the rosary. After her sister dies under mysterious circumstances, Sonya spends the next decade trying to figure out why. As she relocates to Toronto and creates a new identity for herself, her grandmother, Maria, moves backwards into memories of the Depression, her husband’s radical politics and her own attempts to heal the scars of immigration and poverty through herbal remedies and the occasional clumsy attempt at witchcraft. Maria pushes Sonya into a new understanding of her sister’s death, and a final reconciliation with the past.
Moving back and forth in time from the 1930s to the 1990s, the novel traces a family’s journey from the old world to the new, from the Manitoba prairies to the queer feminist underground of Toronto, amid a complex web of secrets, half-truths and magic spells.
Advance praise for The Children of Mary:
“A powerful portrayal of three generations of women trying to wrest life and love from the secrets and tragedies of history. Marusya Bociurkiw stares boldly at the truth of one family’s life and tells a story that is gritty, darkly comic and lyrical”
~Nancy Richler, author of Your Mouth is Lovely.