Emancipation Day

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Emancipation Day

by Wayne Grady

Doubleday Canada | July 30, 2013 | Trade Paperback

Emancipation Day is rated 4 out of 5 by 4.
How far would a son go to belong? And how far would a father go to protect him?

With his curly black hair and his wicked grin, everyone swoons and thinks of Frank Sinatra when Navy musician Jackson Lewis takes the stage. It''s World War II, and while stationed in St. John''s, Newfoundland, Jack meets the well-heeled, romantic Vivian Clift, a local girl who has never stepped off the Rock and is desperate to see the world. They marry against Vivian''s family''s wishes--hard to say what it is, but there''s something about Jack that they just don''t like--and as the war draws to a close, the new couple travels to Windsor to meet Jack''s family.

But when Vivian meets Jack''s mother and brother, everything she thought she knew about her new husband gets called into question. They don''t live in the dream home that Jack depicted, they all look different from one another--and different from anyone Vivian has ever seen--and after weeks of waiting to meet Jack''s father, William Henry, he never materializes. 

Steeped in jazz and big-band music, spanning pre- and post-war Windsor-Detroit, St. John''s, Newfoundland, and 1950s Toronto, this is an arresting, heartwrenching novel about fathers and sons, love and sacrifice, race relations and a time in our history when the world was on the cusp of momentous change.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 336 pages, 9 × 6.28 × 0.91 in

Published: July 30, 2013

Publisher: Doubleday Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0385677669

ISBN - 13: 9780385677660

Found in: Fiction and Literature
With so many fantastic Canadian stories being written every year, it takes a special kind of insight - and bravery - to stand out from the crowd. Wayne Grady does just that with this tender, troubling debut novel, a story of family, identity, and tragic self-deception. With an honest but sympathetic voice, Grady gives us the story of Jack and Vivian, a couple who deserve a permanent place in our cultural memory. Vivian is a hopeful young woman in Newfoundland during World War II, and Jack is the dashing, Jazz-playing, sweet-talking sailor who promises her the world beyond the hills of St. John’s. But Jack isn’t honest with Vivian, because he can’t be honest with himself. Born with extremely light skin in an African-Canadian family, Jack has been passing as white since he was a child. His denial of himself and his family is a cage he’s built for himself, and the damage that ripples outwards spares no one. Emancipation Day never blinks in the face of hard truths, but it does have its moments of heart and beauty. Jack’s love for Vivian surprises even himself, and her love for him isn’t blind – it’s a choice she makes every day, which makes their story so much more powerful and real. This is a book that’s absolutely essential for anyone who wants to understand the devastating and continuing impact race has on the Canadian story. More than that, it’s a portrait of a far-from-perfect marriage that I know will linger in your heart like an old familiar song.

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Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Emancipation Day Very much enjoyed this book. The subject matter shows a side of our history that many Canadians prefer to think did not exist in this country. It was an excellent read and very thought provoking.
Date published: 2014-05-10
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Hmmmm..... Was expecting better and ended up being disappointed.  :(
Date published: 2014-02-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A totally compelling story that cuts to the bone. With so many fantastic Canadian stories being written every year, it takes a special kind of insight - and bravery - to stand out from the crowd. Wayne Grady does just that with this tender, troubling debut novel, a story of family, identity, and tragic self-deception. With an honest but sympathetic voice, Grady gives us the story of Jack and Vivian, a couple who deserve a permanent place in our cultural memory. Vivian is a hopeful young woman in Newfoundland during World War II, and Jack is the dashing, Jazz-playing, sweet-talking sailor who promises her the world beyond the hills of St. John’s. But Jack isn’t honest with Vivian, because he can’t be honest with himself. Born with extremely light skin in an African-Canadian family, Jack has been passing as white since he was a child. His denial of himself and his family is a cage he’s built for himself, and the damage that ripples outwards spares no one. Emancipation Day never blinks in the face of hard truths, but it does have its moments of heart and beauty. Jack’s love for Vivian surprises even himself, and her love for him isn’t blind – it’s a choice she makes every day, which makes their story so much more powerful and real. This is a book that’s absolutely essential for anyone who wants to understand the devastating and continuing impact race has on the Canadian story. More than that, it’s a portrait of a far-from-perfect marriage that I know will linger in your heart like an old familiar song.
Date published: 2013-09-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Must Read This is a wonderful read...insightful, compassionate and compelling. Very fast paced plot, strong realistic characterization and beautiful prose. A very important story for all Canadians to read and think about. A Giller winner for sure.
Date published: 2013-09-20

– More About This Product –

Emancipation Day

by Wayne Grady

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 336 pages, 9 × 6.28 × 0.91 in

Published: July 30, 2013

Publisher: Doubleday Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0385677669

ISBN - 13: 9780385677660

From the Publisher

How far would a son go to belong? And how far would a father go to protect him?

With his curly black hair and his wicked grin, everyone swoons and thinks of Frank Sinatra when Navy musician Jackson Lewis takes the stage. It''s World War II, and while stationed in St. John''s, Newfoundland, Jack meets the well-heeled, romantic Vivian Clift, a local girl who has never stepped off the Rock and is desperate to see the world. They marry against Vivian''s family''s wishes--hard to say what it is, but there''s something about Jack that they just don''t like--and as the war draws to a close, the new couple travels to Windsor to meet Jack''s family.

But when Vivian meets Jack''s mother and brother, everything she thought she knew about her new husband gets called into question. They don''t live in the dream home that Jack depicted, they all look different from one another--and different from anyone Vivian has ever seen--and after weeks of waiting to meet Jack''s father, William Henry, he never materializes. 

Steeped in jazz and big-band music, spanning pre- and post-war Windsor-Detroit, St. John''s, Newfoundland, and 1950s Toronto, this is an arresting, heartwrenching novel about fathers and sons, love and sacrifice, race relations and a time in our history when the world was on the cusp of momentous change.

About the Author

WAYNE GRADY is the author of fourteen highly-acclaimed books, including Breakfast at the Exit Cafe, Bringing Back the Dodo, and The Bone Museum. He is also the translator of fifteen novels from the French, and the editor of eleven anthologies of literary fiction and nonfiction. His writing has appeared in literary magazines, as well as in major newsstand magazines, including Saturday Night, Toronto Life, Canadian Geographic, Smithsonian and Explore. He won the Governor General''s Award for Translation in 1989 for Antonine Maillet''s On the Eighth Day, and was nominated for the same award in 1995 and again in 2005. Grady teaches creative nonfiction as a sessional lecturer at the University of British Columbia, and lives near Kingston, with his wife, novelist and creative nonfiction writer Merilyn Simonds.

Editorial Reviews

Longlist - 2013 Scotiabank Giller Prize Amazon.ca Editor’s Pick—July 2013 “Grady’s novel reads with the velvety tempo of the jazz music of its day. Like a deft conductor, he seamlessly brings in his main characters’ voices in alternating chapters throughout the novel. . . . For Jack, the eternal dilemma is whether we can successfully carve out a future if we reject our past. The answer occupies a distinctly grey area, one Wayne Grady fearlessly explores to expose heated race relations and the masks we all assume.” — Chatelaine    “A stellar debut. This literary novel is set in the heart of the big-band era…. The music swings. So does the story. Though Grady portrays the complexities of race and racial politics, there''s nothing overtly didactic here. It''s a novel of ideas that succeeds precisely because it''s also a good story.” —Winnipeg Free Press “It takes a careful writer to make science clear and engaging to the layperson, and here Grady uses his skills to keep his prose quiet, spacious and neat, showing us how his characters navigate racial politics without telling us what to think about it. . . . Emancipation Day is an engaging look at when and where true co-existence and polite tolerance dissolve into prejudice and power struggle. That’s a fully contemporary issue, and one that’s entirely Canadian.” — The Globe and Mail    “A masterwork of storyt
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