Under The House

Under The House

by Leslie Hall Pinder

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UNDER THE HOUSE by Leslie Hall Pinder ("a writer of great talent and sensitivity" according to Margaret Atwood) is the story of the Rathbones, a prominent Saskatchewan family who live with a secret they're determined to keep. Only young Evelyn finds the courage to break down the wall of silence that keeps the truth at bay.

Her ally is Aunt Maude, a timid woman who has lived with the secret from childhood. The secret made her different, the butt of playground jokes. The secret was like the apples in the cellar under the house – rotting, sticky and soft.

It is timing that gives this novel its strength, from the confused wanderings of Aunt Maude at the start to the unanswered letter from her sister which ends it. Along the way, Leslie Hall Pinder gives herself every opportunity, right down to a courtroom scene, for sensation and melodrama, and skillfully resists each one in favor of her long-term aim: the creation of a family so determined not to look back at their past that they never see the chains that bind them to it.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940015682953
Publisher: Shelfstealers
Publication date: 02/16/2012
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 218
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Leslie Hall Pinder was born in a small town on the prairies. After her undergraduate work, she decided to become a full time writer; therefore, she needed a job.

She found one at the police department in Vancouver. Fascinated with the law, she became a court reporter in the criminal courts. She finally entered law school, graduated with her LLB (UBC, 1976), and was the first woman litigator in a large Vancouver law firm. When the firm had its monthly meeting at a club that did not admit women and required them to enter by the servants’ entrance, she walked through the front door. There was hell to pay.

She formed her own law firm, working exclusively for native people and taking cases through all levels of court, from Cache Creek, B.C. to the Supreme Court of Canada. During her 28 years as a litigator, she continued to publish. In 1986 "Under the House" was brought out in Canada by Talonbooks, then by Bloomsbury Publishing in the U.K., and Random House in the U.S. Faber and Faber published the trade paperback edition.

Her second novel, "On Double Tracks," was published in Canada in 1990 by Lester and Orpen Dennys, and in the U.S. by Random House. It was nominated for a Governor-General's Award, the highest literary award in Canada.

When Leslie discovered Shelfstealers (and we discovered her), she had decided to re-publish her first novel on her own. We convinced her that our team approach to publishing might be the better route; we're glad she agreed. Her third novel, BRING ME ONE OF EVERYTHING (Gray Swan Press, 2012) received a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly.

She has published short stories, poetry, a libretto for an opera and many essays, and is completing her fourth novel, and writing her memoir, tentatively titled EVERY LAWYER SHOULD BE SUED.

37 years after determining to write full-time, she does.

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Under the House 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
RobertKnox More than 1 year ago
In Leslie Hall Pindar’s gripping novel, “Under the House,” two women far apart in age don’t know who their father is. The secrets their family members keep about their origins oppress them, forcing their lives into twisted patterns, denying them the human freedoms and opportunities that should be theirs. Maude is a married woman in the 1940s when a hateful sibling reveals to her a shocking truth (but not all of the truth) about her birth in an attempt to dominate her, drive her out of the family, and keep his Canadian farm family’s entire estate for himself. But inside herself Maude is still the overprotected child of a secret-keeping family, trying to live her life in a permanent state of emotional neutral. The author’s remarkable ability to get inside Maude’s sat-upon consciousness is equaled by her evocation of Evelyn, the child who senses that something’s not quite right about her new step-father, Stanley Rathbone, and her single-mother’s determination to mind-merge with her new husband’s domination of his stepchild and his emotional tyranny over everyone in his life. Pindar’s effectiveness in representing Evelyn’s growing, questioning adolescent mind enables the reader to feel the girl’s struggle to pick their way through life’s minefields. When the novel’s central characters finally connect – Stanley is the family member who has tried to shove Maude into a psychic root cellar and lock the door behind her – you feel the joy, and risk, of their connection. When Maude tells her, “I don’t know who my father is either,” you can’t help rooting for characters who have earned their liberation. The remaining third of the story reads like a riveting battle account between the forces of health and sickness. “I feel like a monster with a huge head and scrawny arms,” Evelyn says. “I’m all broken up.” But Evelyn’s determination to put herself back together inspires the novel’s older characters, and in the end her well-earned victory leads to the liberation of others as well.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This gripping tale of buried family secrets registers high on the gasp-o-meter. I couldn't stop reading. I wanted to know things I didn't want to know.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A tale of a family corrupted by what it does not know, but only suspects. Interestingly, the main protagonists are characters you'd probably avoid: mild, even meek women who allow their lives and fate to be determined by others. These aren't the kind of people I like, but Pinder's writing is so lucid and poetic that I'm carried into their world and go along willingly, even eagerly.