An afternoon of great prose presented in collaboration with the Plan 99 Reading Series, featuring Claire Tacon and Heather Jessup reading from their debut novels.
Claire Tacon’s In the Field, introduces us to Ellie Lucan who is about as far as she can get from the screwed-up teenager she used to be. She’s got a doctorate, her husband’s a prominent academic, and their children are excelling at the local Montessori school. When she loses her teaching job, however, she packs up her two sons to spend the summer in her hometown. She finds her mother suffering from dementia and the house in squalor, and she is forced to confront small town prejudice towards her biracial sons. As Ellie is drawn back into the community, the strain on her marriage intensifies and she is forced to decide where her loyalties lie.
Set against the backdrop of Cold War Toronto, The Lightning Field follows the lives of Peter and Lucy Jacobs from their post-war courtship through marriage and child-rearing in the suburbs. Though spanning four decades, the book pivots on the events of a single day: October 4, 1957. On this day, the Russians launch Sputnik into orbit, the Avro Arrow — the most advanced jet plane of its time, whose wings Peter Jacobs has engineered — rolls out onto the tarmac to great ceremony, and, in a nearby field, Lucy Jacobs is struck by lightning on her way to the event.