Elizabeth and After

by Matt Cohen | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0676972578 Global Overview for this book
Registered by winggypsysmomwing of Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada on 12/30/2007
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5 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by winggypsysmomwing from Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada on Sunday, December 30, 2007
This book won the GG Award for Fiction in 1999.

Journal Entry 2 by winggypsysmomwing at Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada on Friday, October 22, 2010
I haven't read any other books by Matt Cohen (which means that this book qualifies for my personal challenge on John Mutford's Canadian Reading challenge) but I've had this book on Mount TBR for almost 3 years and I decided it was time to give it a try.

The Elizabeth in the title refers to Elizabeth McKelvey, wife of William McKelvey and mother of Carl McKelvey, late of West Gull, Ontario. Elizabeth died early New Year's Day 1987 when her son fell asleep at the wheel of their car and crashed it into a tree. They had all been at the Richardson house for the last New Year's Eve party before the house was turned into a retirement home. Everyone had too much to drink as always happened at the Richardson party. The book opens with a scene from Elizabeth's funeral. Dr. Albert Knight's eulogy compared Elizabeth to a dazzling shooting star. So, from the very beginning, we have an image of Elizabeth that is other-worldly.

But, perhaps that isn't the right take on Elizabeth. As the book goes on to show, Elizabeth could be earthy and sexy. Her life (and death) impacted a number of people in West Gull. Her death especially transformed her son. Carl impregnated and then married Chrissie, a girl he got into a fight over at the New Year's Eve party. While neither Carl nor Chrissie regretted having Lizzie they could not live together. Chrissie threw Carl out and soon after her former boyfriend, Fred, moved in. Carl and Fred got into another fight and Carl ended up in jail. At the beginning of the book Carl is driving back to West Gull from Vancouver Island where he had been working when Chrissie phoned him to ask him to come home for Lizzie's sake. Is Carl also hoping to get back together with Chrissie? Perhaps but at the very least he wants to be a good dad.

His own father is living in the retirement home having agreed to sell the family farm to Luke Richardson in a weak moment. There's a great scene where he goes down to Luke's car dealership and steals a car to drive it into Dead Swede Lake behind his old farmstead. William McKelvey is no prince. Even before Elizabeth's death he drank too much and preferred hunting and fishing to farming. After her death he really fell to pieces.

And then there's Adam Goldsmith, the town bachelor, who fell in love with Elizabeth the first moment he heard her voice. He kept telling himself that Elizabeth was married to someone else and he dated the doctor's daughter, planning on proposing to her when he got sidetracked by Elizabeth seducing him at a New Year's Eve party. Perhaps his life was impacted the most when Elizabeth died.

This book was Cohen's last. He died of lung cancer shortly after receiving the GG award. According to this entry in the Canadian Encyclopedia Cohen knew he was dying and kept on writing. That fact, which I didn't learn until I had finished reading the book, gives an extra dimension to the novel. Cohen may have hoped that his work would have a lasting impact. Certainly his work to establish a Public Lending Right in Canada (which compensates authors for potential loss of sales due to their works being available in libraries) is something that will make his name live on in writing circles. Not being a writer, I think this novel, with its theme of the connections between people, is what will make him memorable for me.

There are some loose pages in this copy. I'm hoping I can fix it up and then I will release it at some time in the future.

Journal Entry 3 by winggypsysmomwing at Park Theatre & Movie Cafe in Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada on Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Released 8 yrs ago (11/10/2010 UTC) at Park Theatre & Movie Cafe in Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada

WILD RELEASE NOTES:

I'll take this book to the meet-up tonight. If no-one takes it home you can find it on the shelves of the OBCZ.

Journal Entry 4 by judysh at Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada on Wednesday, November 10, 2010
This was brought to the bookxing meetup, and I look forward to reading it. I am a fan of Matt Cohen, and I hope this does not disappoint.

Journal Entry 5 by judysh at Park Theatre & Movie Cafe in Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada on Saturday, June 11, 2011

Released 8 yrs ago (6/14/2011 UTC) at Park Theatre & Movie Cafe in Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada

WILD RELEASE NOTES:

back to the OBCZ

Journal Entry 6 by wingwinnipegobczwing at Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada on Wednesday, June 29, 2011
This book disappeared from the OBCZ shelf sometime after it was left there by judysh and now. Let's hope it checks in with an interesting tale.

Journal Entry 7 by ValueVillage at Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada on Monday, February 13, 2012

Released 7 yrs ago (2/14/2012 UTC) at Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada

CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:

Enjoy!

Journal Entry 8 by wingwinnipegobczwing at Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada on Friday, February 24, 2012
This book is back on the Winnipeg Official Bookcrossing Zone bookshelf in the loft of The Park Theatre & Movie Café, 698 Osborne Street, Winnipeg MB.

It is waiting there for a new reader to take home, read, and release back into the wild!


Winnipeg bookcrossers meet at my location on the second Wednesday of every month at 7pm to chat about books, swap great reads, and release on the OBCZ shelves. Please join us! We love to see new faces! You will enjoy the comfy atmosphere, the fabulous coffees and teas, and the yummy treats!

Journal Entry 9 by wingPooker3wing at Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada on Thursday, June 14, 2012
I picked this book up at our monthly BookCrossing meeting last night vaguely thinking that I might have a copy of this book home but that, given it was by a Canadian author, it would make a good Canada Day release.

Well, I couldn't find my copy of the book at home and there's a very good reason for it. I've already read and released it and darned if it isn't having a grand adventure of its own!

Here's what my book's been up to!

So I'll be releasing this one during the Canada Day challenge and hope that it will travel too!

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