Powerful women and wild women, victims, seducers and nurturers all find their way into one collection of hard-edged prairie fiction.
P. J. Worrell understands girls who dream of being wives and mothers in safe cozy homes, then find out that trying hard to secure that life does not necessarily make it happen. In Proudflesh, readers will not find heartwarming sentimentality, but mature literary prose with surprising twists and indeterminate endings and women of intense substance and spirit. Her work is imbued with the feminism that early literary pioneers like Margaret Laurence and Alice Munro introduced in their fiction and although the individual stories ride off different horizons, collectively their ideas stress that when faced with a choice between self-fulfillment and goodness, many will sacrifice goodness in order to have their needs met.
Through her social work lens, Worrell knows what it is like to be dependent, mentally ill, or at the end of one's life. She does not shy away from the moist curlicues around men's nipples, Auschwitz, tumours, aloneness, post-menopausal bellies, cat piss, or suicide. She writes close to the bone. Her characters may not be heroically dashing or intrepid, but they stare death in the face without flinching and this is what makes Proudflesh such an important first book.
". . . gripping, dark, and sexual." — Lorna Crozier
"Feisty, gritty, funny, harrowing, these stories shine with a bright and honest light. Worrell examines the eccentricities, frailties and courage of an impressive range of characters to show us a few things we might have forgotten about ourselves. A debut to celebrate" — Connie Gault
- Shortlisted for the 2015 Saskatchewan Book Awards for Book of the Year and First Book
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