Where It Hurts is a highly-charged collection of personal essays, haunted by loss, evoking turbulent physical and emotional Canadian landscapes. Sarah de Leeuw's creative non-fiction captures strange inconsistencies and aberrations of human behaviour, urging us to be observant and aware. The essays are wide in scope and expose what--and who--goes missing.
With the insight of Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking, Sarah de Leeuw reflects on missing geographies and people, including missing women, both those she has known and those whom she will never get to know. As in Lynn Coady's Hellgoing, but hell-going made real, the writing is courageously focused, juxtaposing places and things that can be touched and known--emotionally, physically, psychologically--with what has become intangible, unnoticed, or actively ignored. Throughout these essays, de Leeuw's imagistic memories are layered with meaning, providing a survival guide for the present, including a survival that comes with the profound responsibility to bear witness.
|Publisher:||NeWest Publishers, Limited|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x (d)|
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Where It Hurts
You know this game, right?
It's played at dinner parties?
After a few glasses of wine?
When we've left the kitchen and the dining room and we're all sitting in the living room and there's been three-in-a-row of those awkward conversation lulls, when saying anything seems too loud so we're all busy saying nothing at all, looking interested in the carpet?
The game where you try to figure out the lie in three guesses or less?
I say: In my life I have eaten bear, shark, raw sea-urchin egg, ox-heart, seal, and caribou.
If you guess which one I haven't eaten, if you catch my lie, it's your turn to fabricate a story. To tell an untruth.
Mostly people guess bear. Especially if I'm in a city. Bear! You can't have eaten bear!
I've eaten bear. Quite a lot of bear, actually. Shanks of black bears pulled from the backs of 4x4 pickups, hunks of skinless slopping red flesh chucked onto stomped-down cardboard boxes thrown flat to keep the blood off the paint of the truck bed. Being hauled to the dump by trophy hunters. Meat res¬cued by my dad. Hundreds of pounds of meat thumped onto the kitchen counter and hacked into manageable wet slabs, chasing off the cats mewling at the fatty scent, wrapping it in newsprint, turfing it into the freezer. Turned into stew. Then fed to the dogs when it became too frostbitten for even our hungry mouths, a strange grey ice-mold that sometimes the dogs would pause over, sniff at before swallowing back in loud gulps.
If no one can guess what I haven't eaten, I get to lie again.
I could say: I have travelled to Seoul, Paris, Sofia, Istanbul, Tokyo, Delhi, and Chicago. One is a lie. It's everyone's job to figure out which place I've never set foot in.
I like the game. I like all the strange truths people keep hidden inside them. How easily a lie can be buried in such plain sight.
Table of Contents
Where It Hurts 7
Belle Island Owls 29
Seven in 1980 41
What Fills Our Lungs 53
Quick-quick. Slow. Slow 63
Soft Shouldered 71
After Paul Auster Spoke About Lightning 81
Columbus Burning 95
Charting the Finite 103
This is Sunday Morning, Comin' Down 111