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Heave Paperback – Dec 3 2002

4.9 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor Canada (Dec 3 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385658087
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385658089
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 1.8 x 20.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 322 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #179,235 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Amazon

2002 Amazon.ca/Books in Canada First Novel Award Shortlist: The title of Christy Ann Conlin's first novel, Heave, is an apt one. The narrative lurches and tosses like a poor sleeper, and the protagonist, a 21-year-old alcoholic Nova Scotian named Seraphina Sullivan, does a great deal of vomiting in the opening chapters of the book. This isn't a bad thing--Conlin's graphic attention to the details of drunkenness is essential to her anatomy of the terrors of being a lost, youthful drunk. If her novel doesn't have the depth or grandeur of Under the Volcano or The Iceman Cometh, its clarity and ability to see beyond the bottom of the bottle give it something that those works lack.

The opening of Heave is also its ending: Seraphina tearing off her clothes and bolting from her own wedding, running to her parents' rural home, and taking shelter in one of her father's restored antique outhouses (her family is a memorable and eccentric one). Seraphina's memories occupy the rest of the book: she takes us back to her troubled but not entirely unhappy childhood, her recent three-week bender in London, England, and her time spent in Canadian rehab clinics and psychiatric institutions. Conlin is a satisfyingly vivid writer with a gift for characterization that few of her generation can equal, and she paints an unforgettable portrait of the people of Nova Scotia. Unfortunately, she is not nearly so capable of dealing with humour in her fiction; much of Heave tries to be funny, but the comedy is nearly always sunk by the gravity of Seraphina's psychology. Nevertheless, this is a polished and substantial debut, a rare first novel that is about people, not characters. --Jack Illingworth --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“This is a wildly energetic debut, alive with characters so vivid they very nearly eclipse one of the tenderest, truest depictions of Nova Scotia life and landscape I think I’ve ever read.” -- Lynn Coady

“Some books, such as thing debut novel…should arrive with the kind of abe that come on cigarette packs: WARNING: Excess of Talent, Visceral Reation May Ensue. Conlin…has produced an extraordinary book…that won’t soon be forgotten.” -- Toronto Star

“Conlin proves herself a keen observer of family life, adept at teasing out the loose ends and following them to uncover the lumps and knots in the fabric.” -- Hamilton Spectator

“Fresh as a Sea Breeze” -- Vancouver Sun

“Highly visual and visceral prose” “Right from the first line Heave is a crazy ride” -- Halifax Daily News

“One book I will not be passing on is Nova Scotian writer Christy Ann Conlin’s marvellous first novel Heave. This book prompted a whelp of excitement from me. “ -- Noah Richler, National Post

Heave is simply a marvellous book.” “Heave is a powerful book”. “Conlin’s style is precise, the intensity often startling. She writes with a truthfulness that is passionate.” -- Michelle Berry, Globe and Mail


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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Typically, depictions of Nova Scotia and Maritime life turn me off. I live here, I know what I see, and I know how I feel about it. But Christy Ann Conlin, in her debut novel, depicts it so well that it's impossible to put down the book for any great deal of time. But her portrayal of Nova Scotia is only one of the many great aspects of the novel; her characters, her story, and her style of storytelling are all aspects that make this novel a great read. After finishing this book, your first reaction is to want more. But surprisingly, this is a debut novel, and we'll have to anxiously await the author's next foray into fiction.
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Format: Hardcover
I picked this book up on a visit to Nova Scotia in February 2003, and I am most impressed. Set mostly in the Annapolis Valley, and partly in Halifax, I felt Conlin drew word pictures of the area and its people that rang very true. The student life in Halifax came to life, as I enjoyed the vibrant and youthful pub scene in Halifax (I am old enough to be those students' parent but the scene was so age-mixed it was very welcoming).
Like most early novels, this one seems to have more than a touch of autobiography. Apart from the truthfulness of the setting, Conlin has really got to the heart of the depression and aloneness of the young who stand somewhat apart from the mores and values of theur family. The tensions within family, where there is often unstated, but overwhelming love which somehow just isn't adequately communicated, was painful, raw, and honest.
A growing-up story by a young writer who is a real talent. Melancholy (as I find much Canadian literature to be) but ultimately a book of hope.
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Format: Paperback
This book made me homesick for Nova Scotia so badly. Conlin captures the valley and Halifax so well, the characters using just the right amount of Nova Scotia vernacular to make it believable without becoming caricatured. The story is slow to start off and quite dense for the first few pages. Characters are sometimes thrown in with formal introductions being made a hundred pages later (like Gordie). But the story really starts to take off somewhere around page forty, where if the reader has persevered through what seems to be impenetrable stream-of-consciousness drunken ramblings, you are treated to an engaging picture of life on the east coast.

The ending, however, much like the beginning, is unsatisfying. The last ten pages or so feel rushed and so much happens so quickly that it is disappointing to get so far only to have so much fall apart with what it seems to be a mad dash to the finish, leaving as much emotional carnage in its wake as possible.
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Format: Paperback
This book is an amazing read, a page turner. To be honest, I didn’t read it when it was first published but Conlin has a new book coming out so I wanted to read this first. My only regret is not reading it earlier. It’s about the life and times of Seraphina Sullivan, and the story centres around a quiet mystery of stolen antique family china and vintage glass. There is a creepy antique dealer, and some heartbreaking parents, and Seraphina and her brother, Arthur, trying to navigate them all. The storytelling voice in this is masterful and totally original. The pace is really fast and it’s both hilarious and sad. The sense of place is awesome, very Gothic coastal, and the characters, while eccentric, are totally believable. It makes me think of that Flannery O’Connor quote, that if you survive your childhood you have more than enough material for writing fiction. No surprise the epitaph at the start of the book is from O’Connor. The book makes me want to visit the Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia, where the story is set in a fictional village.
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Format: Paperback
Atmospheric, dark: this book will leave you wondering what Nova Scotia is really like. I read this when I first moved to NS, and it left me feeling that there aws more to this bucolic rual area than I originally imagined. Conlin tells a great story and her literary style keeps teh pages turning.
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Format: Paperback
Beautiful written with such emotional intensity that I found it hard to look away. I read this one a couple of years ago after I saw it on the Canada Reads list. Loved its livewire soul -- inventive and filled with the hope that eventually we all face our own truth.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Christy Ann Conlin tells a story that is both spellbinding and deep in ways you don't see coming. Highly recommended reading.
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