Saturday morning my phone rang at 7am. I assumed it’d be my supervisor calling with news of a lady in labour, but it was my friend Eric-from-Edmonton (well, originally from Thunder Bay, ON) calling to tell me I was reviewed in The Globe and Mail. “And it’s fanastic,” he said.
It was. It is. It’s here.
Before I’d even had a cup of coffee my in-laws called with good news: The National Post loves Sima, too.
A celebration was in order. We met friends for absurdly expensive organic-milled-on-the-spot chocolate croissants and locally roasted coffee, which we ate overlooking the harbour. It was very Victoria.
Speaking of Victoria: is it totally gauche to complain about a bad review? Well, screw it–after all, at heart I’m a Flatbush Jewess who just had to google ‘gauche’ to figure out how to spell it. The Victoria Times Colonist didn’t like Sima. My own local paper. And the worst of it was: the criticism was just awful. I mean, no one is more aware of a book’s weaknesses than its author. But the TC complained that there were just too many threads in the novel, leaving it scattered. To whit: “There is Sima’s obsession with her childless state, her bitter, soulless marriage, and her ambiguous obsession with Timna.”
That’s too many themes? As my mom said, “I experience more emotions than that before lunch.” Even stranger: the reviewer is a college teacher of Victorian Literature. So you’d think she’d be drawn to thickly plotted novels, and if anything might find Sima quiet…
Anyway. Why focus on the negative, other than that whole human-nature thing? I’m pleased as punch about those national reviews. Sima has taken off wildly on Amazon.ca: for a short moment I even edged out The Great Gatsby on their top US Fiction list.
And to quote the good reviews, now that I’ve quoted the bad: The Globe and Mail writes that Sima features ”one of those perfect reader’s moments, a scene of searing intimacy and revelatory beauty that makes Ilana Stanger-Ross an author to watch for beyond this confident first novel.”
The National Post says, “Stanger-Ross’s great talent, at least on this occasion, lies in her understanding of the shadings of female friendship. She never pretends that all of it is benign. There are moments of revenge, of schadenfreude, of jealousy, but she wraps all of it within a richly authentic-sounding language and compassionate grace.”
Oh–and to follow-up from last week: did 3 interviews on Thursday and caught 2 babies over the weekend. So everything worked out smooth as silk. (And no, that’s not meant to be a reference to my Entertainment Weekly review, but thanks for noticing!)