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A Crack in the Wall by Betty Jane Hegerat

A Crack in the Wall by Betty Jane HegeratA Crack in the Wall by Betty Jane Hegerat. Oolichan Books, 2008

The characters in the short stories in A Crack in the Wall share a strong sense of home, whether it is a lifelong sanctuary, or a shell as fragile as the person who inhabits it. A young kleptomaniac ventures outside the shaky walls of her self-imposed confinement. A middle-aged woman pragmatically disposes of a houseful of pets in Calgary before returning to the Maritimes to embark on the next phase of her life. An elderly woman is forced to share her room in a nursing home with an old enemy. The stories explore the vastly different ways in which people deal with blows to the foundations of their lives, with loss. In the title story, “A Crack in the Wall,” a perfect home fractures after the death of a child. And in another, a grieving husband finds the house haunted by ghostly messages attached to the frozen meals left behind by his dying wife. These are ordinary people, abundantly flawed, often recognizing, but still clinging to their weaknesses.

A Crack in the Wall takes the reader on a voyeuristic walk down suburban streets, a glimpse into open windows at people yearning for what was, and making their reluctant peace with what is, and what will be.

“Betty Jane Hegerat is a gifted and compelling storyteller. She deals in ordinary people who lead ordinary lives, but by some unobtrusive narrative magic, her people become extraordinary.” ~ David Carpenter

Refreshingly unpretentious, A Crack in the Wall draws out detail with an easy momentum that avoids the excesses of myopic realism…  Simple and precise, Hegerat’s style elegantly explores the inner lives of characters struggling against expectation and inevitability – themes that are once maddeningly complex and mundane … Hegerat herself is a long-time Calgarian and her penchant for recognizable landmarks reverberates as strongly as her characters’ attachments to the comfort of their own, often disintegrating houses … Hegerat’s stories’ clear voices and familiar obsessions make them at once artful and sympathetic. ~ Jeff Kubik, AlbertaViews

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Posted by Pearl on Dec 14 2010. Filed under Fiction. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
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