2009 Longlist Frank O’Connor Short-Story Award
& George Ryga Award for Social Awareness in Literature
Silent Girl takes us into the remarkable and poignant lives of fictional daughters, sisters, friends, lovers, wives, and mothers through eight stories inspired by the plays of Shakespeare. Set in Canada, Kyrgyzstan, Thailand, and the United States and informed by the female characters of Pericles, The Taming of the Shrew, Othello, Twelfth Night, The Winter’s Tale, Hamlet, The Tempest, and Coriolanus, Silent Girl’s insightful and unflinching stories portray girls and women dealing with a range of contemporary issues: racism, social isolation, sexual slavery, kidnapping, violence, and family dynamics. Silent Girl explores the experiences of unforgettable characters as they follow trajectories unimagined by Shakespeare, including a young girl who is unwittingly sold to traffickers after losing her mother in the 2004 tsunami in the title story; an ambitious, proud student in post-Soviet Kyrgyzstan who finds her dreams taken hostage in Kesh Kumay; a young woman in an interracial marriage who devises a desperate plan to help her tortured husband after his return from Vietnam in Nobody; I Myself; two women and an older man who discover how fluid the boundaries of gender can be in Cocktails With Charles; a woman who constructs a life on remembered pain after her husband disappears with their baby daughter in Deep Dark Waves; a mother and son who wrestle for control of their Alberta farm in Passing Through; an eleven-year-old girl who stumbles across incest and her own emerging sexuality in Not Meant To Know; and a genetically-rare people who struggle with shifting gender politics and an environmentally ravaged world in The Snow People, 30-46 AGM. “Dower’s characters are heartbreakingly valiant, like resistance fighters on occupied ground; through knowledge, wit, defiance and even silence, they gesture toward new, if imperfect, definitions of autonomy. A bold, candid and moving collection.” —Dr. Susan Braley, author and retired professor of English literature, liberal studies, and women’s studies. For more information about and details about Silent Girl, see Tricia Dower’s website www.triciadower.com. Discussion guides for each of the stories are also available on the website.