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Moving Forward Sideways Like a Crab by Shani…
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Moving Forward Sideways Like a Crab

by Shani Mootoo

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LM review
  TheDenizen | May 31, 2016 |
hmmm...

okay, so this novel should give readers much to think about. gender identity is a primary theme, and it's become an issue that is being talked about more and more in some societies. this is a good thing. with hope, discussion leads to understanding and acceptance. i do believe that reading fiction leads to stronger or improved empathy. and i think books like this one, or [book:Annabel|7984373], will help with these conversations. so on that front, i think mootoo's book is special and necessary. there were moments in the novel that were absolutely beautiful. where i am struggling, however, is with the voices in the book. there are 3 prominent characters, plus supporting players. i didn't find the voices distinct enough from one another - they all blended together and seemed to be the same. mootoo's narrative employs flashbacks and letter writing, and those devices didn't - for me - help solidify her characters' voices any better. i also felt the voices were flat. and given there are some very large and angst-y issues in play, the flatness of voice seemed to create an emotional void. so that was a strange experience. this should have been a very emotional reading experience. overall, i did like the book, so please don't misunderstand me. i was just so very stoked for mootoo's new book...and it was not blow-my-socks-off awesome, as i hoped it would be. but it was good. :) ( )
  Booktrovert | Mar 25, 2014 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385676220, Hardcover)

From the author of Cereus Blooms at Night and Valmiki’s Daughter, both nominated for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, comes a haunting and courageous new novel. Written in vibrant, supple prose that vividly conjures both the tropical landscape of Trinidad and the muted winter cityscape of Toronto, Moving Forward Sideways Like a Crab is a passionate eulogy to a beloved parent, and a nuanced, moving tale about the struggle to embrace the complex realities of love and family ties.
 
Jonathan Lewis-Adey was nine when his parents, who were raising him in a tree-lined Toronto neighbourhood, separated and his mother, Sid, vanished from his life. It was not until he was a grown man, and a promising writer with two books to his name, that Jonathan finally reconnected with his beloved parent—only to find, to his shock and dismay, that the woman he’d known as “Sid” had morphed into an elegant, courtly man named Sydney. In the decade following this discovery, Jonathan made regular pilgrimages from Toronto to visit Sydney, who now lived quietly in a well-appointed retreat in his native Trinidad. And on each visit, Jonathan struggled to overcome his confusion and anger at the choices Sydney had made, trying with increasing desperation to rediscover the parent he’d once adored inside this familiar stranger.
 
As the novel opens, Jonathan has been summoned urgently to Trinidad where Sydney, now aged and dying, seems at last to offer him the gift he longs for: a winding story that moves forward sideways as it slowly peels away the layers of Sydney’s life. But soon it becomes clear that when and where the story will end is up to Jonathan, and it is he who must decide what to do with Sydney’s haunting legacy of love, loss, and acceptance.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:32 -0400)

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