Susan Musgrave has published poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and children's literature. Her most recent titles include: You're in Canada Now...A Memoir of Sorts (essays, Thistledown Press); Cargo of Orchids (novel, Knopf), which became a national bestseller; and What the Small Day Cannot Hold: Collected Poems 1970-1985 (poetry, Beach Holme). Musgrave is also an editor, and has lent her writing ability to film and music. Her projects have won numerous awards that are as diverse as the bp Nichol Poetry Chapbook Award and the National Film Board's Kathleen Shannon Award. Musgrave was included in the 2008-2009 Royal BC Museum Free Spirit Project that featured the province's most famous and infamous people. Musgrave divides her time between Vancouver Island and Haida Qwaii (the Queen Charlotte Islands).
The characters from Susan Musgrave’s Cargo of Orchids are back in this brilliantly engaging novel. Rainy, the Mexican-American woman, and Frenchy, the African-American, along with Musgrave’s narrator X have returned and convincingly insist their story is not done. Once inmates on death row, now reunited and hanging out at an old house in a BC outport, they create a grand new afterlife adventure. As we are shuttled along an energetic storyline in an old hearse, through gated communities in Vancouver to BC’s First Nations island outposts, we witness the transformation of lives on the slopes of purgatory. The passageways are rife with wild rides, social satire and visually hilarious encounters. Musgrave’s trademark undercurrents of lurking peril and unexpected havoc play out against murder, drug encounters, and sexual tension but Given is a novel with its own rules of engagement. Musgrave’s comic gifts and ability to transcend this earthly plane create a ghost story that becomes a masterful allegory for personal loss and the potency of love.
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