About Kathy Page

Kathy Page writer“Kathy Page embraces and illuminates the unknown, the creepy, the odd, the other and the rest of us,” writes Amy Bloom.  “Her  unforgettable prose is moody, shape-shifting, provocative and always as compelling as a strong light at the end of a road you hesitate to walk down…but will.”

“This vibrant, startlingly imaginative collection reminded me—as few collections have done in recent years—of both where stories come from, and why we need to tell them.  Kathy Page is a massive talent:  wise, smart, very funny and very humane.” Barbara Gowdy, writing of Paradise & Elsewhere, 2014

Page is the author of seven novels, including The Story of My Face (2002), nominated for the Orange Prize, and Alphabet (2005, 2014), which was short-listed for the Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction. Her story collections Paradise & Elsewhere (2014), and The Two of Us (2016) were both nominated for the Giller Prize.  Born in the UK, she has been living in   Canada since 2001.

Alphabet was described as “Dark, disturbing and delicious,”  (January Magazine) and Guardian columnist Erwin James called it: …a wonderful book, peculiar, intense, revealing, challenging, exhausting – and above all, riveting.

Complex characters and compelling narrative are Page’s trademarks, as is suspense, both psychological and existential. “One of the most compelling, unsettling novels I’ve read in ages,” Sarah Waters wrote in the Independent on Sunday, choosing The Story of My Face as one of her Books of the Year, which should appeal to fans of classy thrillers and literary fiction alike.”

“Kathy Page reminds us what a novel can do that almost nothing else can”  Fred Stenson writes of The Find,  which was shortlisted for the 2011 Relit Award: “take elements as different as dinosaur hunting, land claims, inherited disease, and abuse of power, and link them with grace and  necessity. Above all, The Find is a love story of the rarest kind: one with something new to say.”

“Page,” according to  Claudia Casper in the Globe and Mail “is at her best developing the political and personal nuances of conflict, and the complex workings of both small and larger scale power  dynamics  are something she  uses to great effect in her work.   Nothing, according to Page,  is as simple as it seems, and nothing has to stay how it is.”

Page’s work is sometimes dark, but it is also profoundly optimistic. She has  identified her themes as  “loss, survival, and transformation: the magic by which a bad hand becomes a good chance”.  She likes to do something very different with each book, whether  in terms of the territory it explores or the way the material is approached, but says that all her work “is connected by a strong interest in human connection, in relationships, especially difficult, imperfect relationships—the kind that a therapist perhaps might not recommend, but in which many or even most of us are passionately involved.”

Page’s work often turns on questions, choices that confront her characters: to know or not to know about the future, whether or not to tell the truth, whether or not to trust someone with a secret, or to be loyal.  An early novel, Frankie Styne & the Silver Man shows her playing with a suspense narrative for the first time, and sets up some of the questions about the nature of identity  and relationships which have continued to animate her work: What makes a person who s/he is? How much change is possible?  What can we do for and with each other? This novel’s unexpected ending signals a transition from the starker work that preceded it. I read on, captivated and creeped-out, novelist Caroline Adderson writes of Frankie Styne, but this being Kathy Page, I always trusted I was heading away from a nightmare, towards a happier place.”

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