Dave Margoshes Recommends Connie Gault

I recently discovered Connie Gault’s writing when I won a copy of A Beauty through a Goodreads Giveaway. Dave Margoshes, previously featured twice on Reading Recommendations, is a fellow-Saskatchewanian who has known Connie for many years and recommends her writing.


A Beauty
by Connie Gault

novel, literary fiction

In a drought-ridden Saskatchewan of the 1930s, self-possessed, enigmatic Elena Huhtala finds herself living alone, a young Finnish woman in a community of Swedes in the small village of Trevna. Her mother has been dead for many years, and her father, burdened by the hardships of drought, has disappeared, and the eighteen-year-old is an object of pity and charity in her community. But when a stranger shows up at a country dance, Elena needs only one look and one dance before jumping into his Lincoln Roadster, leaving the town and its shocked inhabitants behind. What follows is a trip through the prairie towns, their dusty streets, shabby hotel rooms, surrounded by dry fields that stretch out vastly, waiting for rain. Elena’s journey uncovers the individual stories of an unforgettable group of people, all of whom are in one way or another affected by her seductive yet innocent presence. At the centre is Ruth, a girl whose life becomes changed in unexpected ways. She and the girl Elena, distanced and apart, form a strange bond that will come to haunt the decades for them both.

917080 Connie’s bio: Connie Gault is the author of two collections of short stories, several plays for stage and radio and the novel Euphoria, winner of the Saskatchewan Book Award for Fiction and short-listed for the High Plains Fiction Award and the Commonwealth Prize for Best Book of Canada and the Caribbean.

A former prose editor of Grain Magazine, Gault has also edited books of fiction, taught many creative writing classes, and mentored emerging writers through the Saskatchewan Writers Guild Mentorship Program. She lives in Regina.

Why Dave Margoshes recommends Connie Gault’s writing:
Set against the iconic Canadian literary image of Saskatchewan – drought and Depression-strangled – Gault’s new novel is a “road story” involving a seductive yet innocent young woman and – what else? – a mysterious stranger.

I know Connie and I know and admire her work (her last novel, Euphoria, was wonderful), so a new book from her is always much anticipated. This novel, while still in manuscript form, won the City of Regina Writing Award a few years ago. Here’s what the jury had to say about it: “What really set this apart, though, is the combination of the familiar and expected—a stranger comes to town—with a jolt of the strange. It’s like electricity in the air before a storm. The reader falls into this piece and we want more, more.”

And here’s what Commonwealth Prize Winner and Giller Prize Finalist Marina Endicott has to say about it: “A Beauty is a radiant novel, filled with vivid life: startling, clear, and real. Connie Gault’s unadorned, transparent prose and her ruthless but loving intelligence make her one of Canada’s very best writers.”

That’s good enough for me.

Links for people to buy it:
McClelland & Stewart – PenguinRandomHouseCanada
McNally Robinson http://www.mcnallyrobinson.com/home
Amazon – eBook and hardcover

Dave smiling


Guest reviewer’s latest title or project: Saskatoon-area fiction writer and poet Dave Margoshes had a two-book year in 2014: A novel, Wiseman’s Wager (Coteau Books), and a story collection, God Telling a Joke and Other Stories (Oolichan Books).

Dave Margoshes – an update on a new novel


     Wiseman’s Wager

                                      a new novel by                                

      Dave Margoshes

              from Coteau Books, Regina, SK, Canada

Zan Wiseman: in his own words, a “failed novelist. You might say I made a success of failure, a whole career of it. I did lots of other things – to make a living, to keep alive, you do anything, whatever comes along, whatever you have to, teacher sometimes, bee-keeper sometimes, believe it or not, mostly as a machinist, a pretty good one, too. But they don’t count. Novelist, that’s the noun. Failed, that’s the adjective. And not just novelist either – failed husband, failed son, failed brother, failed friend, failed Communist … you name it, I failed at it. Failed, that’s the operative word.”

One thing Zan is good at, though, is spinning yarns, and through the pages of Wiseman’s Wager, Dave Margoshes’s new novel, he spins plenty of them: tales about his childhood and life, about his family and lovers, his adventures and misadventures. But is he misremembering things? Deliberately misrepresenting them? Merely crafting a better story? Or all of the above?

Dave Margoshes’ books include three novels, five volumes of poetry and seven collections of short fiction. He’s had stories and poems published in dozens of magazines and anthologies in Canada and the United States (included six times in Best Canadian Stories), and had work broadcast on CBC. He was a finalist for the Journey Prize in 2009 and has won several awards, including the Stephen Leacock Prize for Poetry in 1996, the John V. Hicks Award for fiction in 2001 and the City of Regina Writing Award twice, in 2004 and 2010. His Bix’s Trumpet and Other Stories was Book of the Year at the Saskatchewan Book Awards and a finalist for the ReLit Award in 2007. His 2012 story collection, A Book of Great Worth, was one of Amazon.Ca’s Top Hundred Books of the Year.

You may purchase Dave’s book from:
Wiseman’s Wager is available from the author (davemargoshes (at) gmail.com), Coteau Books, Amazon, Chapters/Indigo, Kobo, iTunes, Nook and Independent bookstores across Canada.

Dave Margoshes was previously featured on Reading Recommendations on Aug. 7, 2014.

Dave Margoshes

Dave Margoshes will be reading at Shelf Life Books in Calgary from his new story collection, God Telling a Joke and Other Stories, Saturday, Aug. 9, 2-4 p.m., at Shelf Life Books,1302 4th St. S.W. (corner of 13th Ave.)

Dave smiling Dave Margoshes

What is your latest release and what genre is it? God Telling a Joke and Other Stories. A collection of short stories published by Oolichan Books (Fernie, B.C.)

Quick description: Unlike my last book, A Book of Great Worth (Coteau Books, 2012), which was a collection of linked stories featuring a character much like my father, this collection contains totally unrelated stories. Among the characters in the sixteen stories are a 99-year-old stand-up comedian wearily challenging God to deliver the punch line; a lightning strike survivor whose luck finally runs out; a Princeton-educated trapper who transforms himself into the King of the Jews; a carnival sideshow “geek” with a glass jaw; the grieving son a woman famous for her beautiful breasts; and a writer, dubbed a “connoisseur of longing,” seeking to make amends. The stories range from laugh-out-loud comedy to wry satire to heart-wrenching romance to sober meditations on the nature of beauty, truth, life and death.

MARGOSHES-God Telling A Joke-Cover-DD02

Brief biography:
I’ve published three novels, five volumes of poetry and a biography. God Telling a Joke and Other Stories is my seventh collection of short fiction. I’ve had stories and poems published in dozens of magazines and anthologies in Canada and the United States (included six times in Best Canadian Stories), and had work broadcast on CBC. I was a finalist for the Journey Prize in 2009 and have won several awards – an earlier collection, Bix’s Trumpet and Other Stories, was Book of the Year at the Saskatchewan Book Awards and a finalist for the ReLit Award in 2007, and my poetry collection, Dimensions of an Orchard, won the Anne Szumigalski Poetry Prize at the 2010 Saskatchewan Book Awards. My most recent title, A Book of Great Worth, was one of Amazon.Ca’s Top Hundred Books of 2012.

Links to buy Dave’s book:
Oolichan Books has published this in a $19.95 trade paper edition and it is also available as a $9.95 ebook in Kobo, Kindle and Apple formats. It’s available from the author (davemargoshes (at) gmail.com), the publisher, at independent bookstores across Canada, and at Chapters-Indigo, Amazon and other on-line retailers.
Amazon Canada – eBook and Paperback
Amazon US – eBook and Paperback

Dave’s promo links:
I don’t have a website, but I’m on Facebook, and have pages on The Writers Union of Canada and The League of Canadian Poets websites

What are you working on now?
A new novel, Wiseman’s Wager, will be published in the fall. Work on that is done. I’m deeply immersed in a new novel, set in the Middle East.

Dave’s reading recommendation:
Short stories are my preferred reading. I really liked two story collections from Alberta writers, Astrid Blodgett’s* You Haven’t Changed a Bit, and Audrey Whitson’s The Glorious Mysteries; and two Saskatchewan collections, Proudflesh by Peggy Worrell, and Sweet Life by Linda Biasotto. I loved Saskatchewan poet dee Hobsbawn-Smith’s debut collection, wildness rushing in, and I’m a fan of the first two volumes of The Literary History of Saskatchewan, edited by David Carpenter.

*Astrid Blodgett was previously featured on Reading Recommendations in July, 2014.