Ottawa's Festival of Ideas Since 1997
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Free event
Live Online Event
7:30pm–8:30pm

The Strangers

with Katherena Vermette
Hosted by Rhonda Douglas

The Strangers

with Katherena Vermette
Hosted by Rhonda Douglas
28
Tuesday
Sep
7:30pm
Please RSVP for this
Free event
Katherena Vermette

Acclaimed author and poet Rhonda Douglas hosts Governor General’s Award-Winner Katherena Vermette for a conversation on her latest novel, The Strangers, an exploration of race, class, inherited trauma, and matrilineal bonds that—despite everything—refuse to be broken. 

 

Cedar has nearly forgotten what her family looks like. Phoenix has nearly forgotten what freedom feels like. And Elsie has nearly given up hope. Nearly.

 

After time spent in foster homes, Cedar goes to live with her estranged father. Although she grapples with the pain of being separated from her mother, Elsie, and sister, Phoenix, she’s hoping for a new chapter in her life, only to find herself once again in a strange house surrounded by strangers. From a youth detention centre, Phoenix gives birth to a baby she’ll never get to raise and tries to forgive herself for all the harm she’s caused (while wondering if she even should). Elsie, struggling with addiction and determined to turn her life around, is buoyed by the idea of being reunited with her daughters and strives to be someone they can depend on, unlike her own distant mother. These are the Strangers, each haunted in her own way. Between flickering moments of warmth and support, the women diverge and reconnect, fighting to survive in a fractured system that pretends to offer success but expects them to fail. Facing the distinct blade of racism from those they trusted most, they urge one another to move through the darkness, all the while wondering if they’ll ever emerge safely on the other side. 

 

Books are available from our friends at Perfect Books.

 

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