Catalogue


Requests and dedications /
Elise Levine.
imprint
Toronto : Emblem Editions, 2005, c2003.
description
312 p. : port.
ISBN
0771052782 :
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
author
imprint
Toronto : Emblem Editions, 2005, c2003.
isbn
0771052782 :
catalogue key
5356777
A Look Inside
Excerpts
Excerpt from Book
First came the merry-go-round, smeary yellow on a damp afternoon, then a parade in which the morning sunshine spun a filigree of golden horses. Memories like sno-cones, jewel-toned cups of flavoured ice. A tall bunny in a tuxedo and top hat, a miracle carrot-peeler. A woman in a floral-print dress with full pleated skirt leaning over from the waist, head floating above in an aureole of pink cotton candy, the warmth of sugared breath. And once, at a schoolyard fair, a ride on a pony called Pickles. Look mom no hands! Now, on this November afternoon, my thirty-seven-year-old arms deliciously overburdened with stuffed animals, tin belt buckles, plastic lampshades having stormed the kiosks, driven by a nearly boundless love of sour-cream fudge and guaranteed never-to-chip fingernail polish it's still me all right, the queen of par-tay. No point making sense. You live your life and that's that. It's a credo that's got me this far I've only just begun to realize the good times can't last forever. What the? Walker refuses to notice me, and my practised sneer goes to waste. Instead he keeps whistling, pursing his thin wormy lips, gazing into the rafters and down at the hay-wisped concrete floor. He checks over his fleshy shoulders once or twice then shrugs, shaking his head as if to say, What can you do? His whistle is high and soft, a wooing sigh with little rolls and flutters, notes ascending then curling over the top like tiny waves, the scrolled song folding over on itself like the folds of his own decadently wrinkled skin. The horse beside him pays scant attention, flicking its bony head up and down, tapping the ground with its front hooves in boredom. Must be losing it, Walker, the horse's groom says. Sitting on an overturned steel bucket next to the horse's rump, he's a gnomish man, short and wiry with an oversized head and an off-centre mouth, a sneaky, ventriloquist's voice. Impossible to guess his age. He raises his buggy eyebrows and winks at me, leering. I smile icily, just in case, though Walker doesn't seem to notice. The horse stiffens and spreads its back legs. When the pee comes Walker holds his hands palm out and looks upward. The groom scrambles forward onto his knees, upends his makeshift perch, rocks back onto his heels. Crouching low to aim the bucket, he grudgingly shakes his head and squeaks, Still the best, my man. Then off he trundles, taking the sample to the makeshift veterinarian's office where it will be tested for illegal substances. My guy the official whistler at the Royal Winter Fair. He stands with his arms crossed over his massive belly, not quite looking at me. Want something? he says.
First Chapter
First came the merry-­go-­round, smeary yellow on a damp afternoon, then a parade in which the morning sunshine spun a filigree of golden horses. Memories like sno-­cones, jewel-­toned cups of flavoured ice. A tall bunny in a tuxedo and top hat, a miracle carrot-­peeler. A woman in a floral-­print dress with full pleated skirt leaning over from the waist, head floating above in an aureole of pink cotton candy, the warmth of sugared breath. And once, at a schoolyard fair, a ride on a pony called Pickles. Look mom — no hands!

Now, on this November afternoon, my thirty-­seven-­year-­old arms deliciously overburdened with stuffed animals, tin belt buckles, plastic lampshades — having stormed the kiosks, driven by a nearly boundless love of sour-­cream fudge and guaranteed never-­to-­chip fingernail polish — it’s still me all right, the queen of par-­tay. No point making sense. You live your life and that’s that. It’s a credo that’s got me this far — I’ve only just begun to realize the good times ­can’t last forever.

What the?

Walker refuses to notice me, and my practised sneer goes to waste. Instead he keeps whistling, pursing his thin wormy lips, gazing into the rafters and down at the hay-­wisped concrete floor. He checks over his fleshy shoulders once or twice then shrugs, shaking his head as if to say, What can you do? His whistle is high and soft, a wooing sigh with little rolls and flutters, notes ascending then curling over the top like tiny waves, the scrolled song folding over on itself like the folds of his own decadently wrinkled skin. The horse beside him pays scant attention, flicking its bony head up and down, tapping the ground with its front hooves in boredom.

Must be losing it, Walker, the horse’s groom says.

Sitting on an overturned steel bucket next to the horse’s rump, he’s a gnomish man, short and wiry with an oversized head and an off-­centre mouth, a sneaky, ventriloquist’s voice. Impossible to guess his age. He raises his buggy eyebrows and winks at me, leering. I smile icily, just in case, though Walker ­doesn’t seem to notice.

The horse stiffens and spreads its back legs. When the pee comes Walker holds his hands palm out and looks upward. The groom scrambles forward onto his knees, upends his makeshift perch, rocks back onto his heels.

Crouching low to aim the bucket, he grudgingly shakes his head and squeaks, Still the best, my man.

Then off he trundles, taking the sample to the makeshift veterinarian’s office where it will be tested for illegal substances.

My guy — the official whistler at the Royal Winter Fair. He stands with his arms crossed over his massive belly, not quite looking at me.

Want something? he says.
Reviews
Review Quotes
"Elise Levine uses language as a dare tough, intense, almost defensive; ironically, it only heightens the effect of her compassion, which pierces the narrative with equal immediacy. From this edginess her vivid characters who, in various states of ruin and repair, struggle towards a sense of family emerge as authentic as bone." Anne Michaels "An accomplished first novel....Requests and Dedicationsis a worthy successor to Levine's impressive premiere....Levine uses language deftly...." Eye Weekly "[A] bold debut novel.... [Levine's characters] slowly reveal themselves, open up inwardly to the reader in a way that comes to feel important and beautiful.... The writing is dynamic and compelling. Pure power." Globe and Mail "One tough cookie of a writer.... Her canvas is the Canadian working-class family, her location the rural fringe of the Torontonian megacity, her theme, that pain outlives, while love can only endure.... Levine is clever and talented...." Quill & Quire "A cutting-edge literary sensation." NOW Magazine "Reading Elise Levine is akin to a wild ride down a dark road at night.... Bold and startling.... Precipitous and exhilarating." Globe and Mail "Elise Levine's writing compresses the distance between art and audience.... She is a visceral imagist...." Ottawa Citizen "[Requests and Dedicationstells] fascinating stories, includes sharply imagined moments and draws readers into the make-believe of fiction with alarming power." Hal Niedzviecki,This Magazine "Exciting and fresh...." Vue Weekly "No reader can make his or her way through [her] stories and retain any kind of complacency." Calgary Herald "One of Canada's finest fiction writers.... Levine demonstrates a kind of incandescent knowing about human affairs which she deploys in stunningly nuanced passages.... A sensitive, cagey dominatrix of literary form and human psychology." George Elliott Clarke,Mail Star(aboutDriving Men Mad)
"Elise Levine uses language as a dare tough, intense, almost defensive; ironically, it only heightens the effect of her compassion, which pierces the narrative with equal immediacy. From this edginess her vivid characters who, in various states of ruin and repair, struggle towards a sense of family emerge as authentic as bone." Anne Michaels "An accomplished first novel.... Requests and Dedications is a worthy successor to Levine's impressive premiere....Levine uses language deftly...." Eye Weekly "[A] bold debut novel.... [Levine's characters] slowly reveal themselves, open up inwardly to the reader in a way that comes to feel important and beautiful.... The writing is dynamic and compelling. Pure power." Globe and Mail "One tough cookie of a writer.... Her canvas is the Canadian working-class family, her location the rural fringe of the Torontonian megacity, her theme, that pain outlives, while love can only endure.... Levine is clever and talented...." Quill & Quire "A cutting-edge literary sensation." NOW Magazine "Reading Elise Levine is akin to a wild ride down a dark road at night.... Bold and startling.... Precipitous and exhilarating." Globe and Mail "Elise Levine's writing compresses the distance between art and audience.... She is a visceral imagist...." Ottawa Citizen "[ Requests and Dedications tells] fascinating stories, includes sharply imagined moments and draws readers into the make-believe of fiction with alarming power." Hal Niedzviecki, This Magazine "Exciting and fresh...." Vue Weekly "No reader can make his or her way through [her] stories and retain any kind of complacency." Calgary Herald "One of Canada's finest fiction writers.... Levine demonstrates a kind of incandescent knowing about human affairs which she deploys in stunningly nuanced passages.... A sensitive, cagey dominatrix of literary form and human psychology." George Elliott Clarke, Mail Star (about Driving Men Mad ) From the Trade Paperback edition.
"Elise Levine uses language as a dare tough, intense, almost defensive; ironically, it only heightens the effect of her compassion, which pierces the narrative with equal immediacy. From this edginess her vivid characters who, in various states of ruin and repair, struggle towards a sense of family emerge as authentic as bone." Anne Michaels "An accomplished first novel.... Requests and Dedications is a worthy successor to Levine's impressive premiere....Levine uses language deftly...." Eye Weekly "[A] bold debut novel.... [Levine's characters] slowly reveal themselves, open up inwardly to the reader in a way that comes to feel important and beautiful.... The writing is dynamic and compelling. Pure power." Globe and Mail "One tough cookie of a writer.... Her canvas is the Canadian working-class family, her location the rural fringe of the Torontonian megacity, her theme, that pain outlives, while love can only endure.... Levine is clever and talented...." Quill & Quire "A cutting-edge literary sensation." NOW Magazine "Reading Elise Levine is akin to a wild ride down a dark road at night.... Bold and startling.... Precipitous and exhilarating." Globe and Mail "Elise Levine's writing compresses the distance between art and audience.... She is a visceral imagist...." Ottawa Citizen "[Requests and Dedications tells] fascinating stories, includes sharply imagined moments and draws readers into the make-believe of fiction with alarming power." Hal Niedzviecki, This Magazine "Exciting and fresh...." Vue Weekly "No reader can make his or her way through [her] stories and retain any kind of complacency." Calgary Herald "One of Canada's finest fiction writers.... Levine demonstrates a kind of incandescent knowing about human affairs which she deploys in stunningly nuanced passages.... A sensitive, cagey dominatrix of literary form and human psychology." George Elliott Clarke, Mail Star (about Driving Men Mad)
This item was reviewed in:
Globe & Mail, June 2005
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Summaries
Main Description
Set in the hip urban core of Toronto and in the city's outlying areas, this is the story of an unlikely family held together by love and longing, pain and regret and what happens when the ties that bind them begin to unravel. There is Walker, a tender but rough-edged horse dealer trying to do the right thing; his fading lounge-singer girlfriend, Mimi; his sister, Joy, who cleans at the golf club nearby; and Joy's teenage daughter, Tanis, self-sufficient, nervy, wise, locked in conflict with her mother, and ready to break away from the tangle of this makeshift family and does, until a tragic event changes everything. Gritty, seductive, infused with wit and an undercover poignancy, this is an audacious and emotionally compelling novel by a writer who knows exactly where the heart lives and why it's sometimes so hard to find it.
Table of Contents
First came the merry-¡go-¡round, smeary yellow on a damp afternoon, then a parade in which the morning sunshine spun a filigree of golden horses. Memories like sno-¡cones, jewel-¡toned cups of flavoured ice. A tall bunny in a tuxedo and top hat, a miracle carrot-¡peeler. A woman in a floral-¡print dress with full pleated skirt leaning over from the waist, head floating above in an aureole of pink cotton candy, the warmth of sugared breath. And once, at a schoolyard fair, a ride on a pony called Pickles. Look mom - no hands! Now, on this November afternoon, my thirty-¡seven-¡year-¡old arms deliciously overburdened with stuffed animals, tin belt buckles, plastic lampshades - having stormed the kiosks, driven by a nearly boundless love of sour-¡cream fudge and guaranteed never-¡to-¡chip fingernail polish - it's still me all right, the queen of par-¡tay. No point making sense. You live your life and that's that. It's a credo that's got me this far - I've only just begun to realize the good times ¡can't last forever.
What the? Walker refuses to notice me, and my practised sneer goes to waste. Instead he keeps whistling, pursing his thin wormy lips, gazing into the rafters and down at the hay-¡wisped concrete floor. He checks over his fleshy shoulders once or twice then shrugs, shaking his head as if to say, What can you do? His whistle is high and soft, a wooing sigh with little rolls and flutters, notes ascending then curling over the top like tiny waves, the scrolled song folding over on itself like the folds of his own decadently wrinkled skin. The horse beside him pays scant attention, flicking its bony head up and down, tapping the ground with its front hooves in boredom.
Must be losing it, Walker, the horse's groom says.
Sitting on an overturned steel bucket next to the horse's rump, he's a gnomish man, short and wiry with an oversized head and an off-¡centre mouth, a sneaky, ventriloquist's voice. Impossible to guess his age. He raises his buggy eyebrows and winks at me, leering. I smile icily, just in case, though Walker ¡doesn't seem to notice.
The horse stiffens and spreads its back legs. When the pee comes Walker holds his hands palm out and looks upward. The groom scrambles forward onto his knees, upends his makeshift perch, rocks back onto his heels.
Crouching low to aim the bucket, he grudgingly shakes his head and squeaks, Still the best, my man.
Then off he trundles, taking the sample to the makeshift veterinarian's office where it will be tested for illegal substances.
My guy - the official whistler at the Royal Winter Fair. He stands with his arms crossed over his massive belly, not quite looking at me.
Want something? he says.
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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