A Certain Grace
Short Stories by Binnie Brennan
Quattro Books, publisher
In the tradition of short story writers Alice Munro and Carol Shields, Binnie Brennan examines the minutiae of ordinary life. During a tipsy night out escaping the frustrations of daily routines, two middle-aged school teachers try their luck at scoring a joint. A long-haul trucker drives an injured butterfly to its breeding ground in Florida, giving them both a much-needed migration. And while struggling with the death of her ex-husband, a single mother questions her place in her family’s lives. A Certain Grace is richly told in spare prose and woven with vignettes of a much-loved grandfather’s life.
"Brennan, a violist with Symphony Nova Scotia, knows much about sustaining pitch. And in her title story, A Certain Grace, she does not falter. A series of vignettes about the narrator's deceased grandparents, it has the saltiness and abandon of an East Coast reel, one you don't want to end, an effect that augurs well for what's to come from this writer."
~Krista Foss, The Globe & Mail (complete review here)
"Rare is the musician who ventures into fiction and rarer still is the classically trained musician who shows aptitude in both disciplines."
~ Megan Power, Chronicle-Herald (July 1, 2012)
"Whether the story takes place in the city or in a less urban setting, you can feel the omniscient shoreline and the salty East-coast air rustling between the lines of her words... Leonard Cohen once said, "There's a crack in everything/that's how the light gets in", and so, perhaps for Brennan, what might otherwise appear broken is precisely where we find A Certain Grace."
~Sarah Brideau, The Telegraph-Journal (March 31, 2012)
"Binnie Brennan’s pitch-perfect stories chart with a musician’s precision the beats between tenderness and cruelty, between innocence and understanding, in the gulf between what we long for and what is. Centred on the rifts between partner and partner, parents and children, acquaintances and strangers, they hover on the cusp of loss and the quiet deliverance of words themselves, to pinpoint the moment, brimming with possibility, when everything changes."
~ Carol Bruneau, author of Glass Voices
Arts East interview
Feb 27, 2012