Gaining Ground by Joan Barfoot

Author Rose Ruane (This Is YesterdayBirding) picks Gaining Ground AKA Abra (1978) by Canadian feminist writer Joan Barfoot. One day, seemingly on a whim, a woman walks out of her home and her marriage, forsaking her family for a life of near-solitude and self-sufficiency. Many years later, her daughter, now grown-up, comes to find her and to ask a simple question: why? But there are no easy answers… In a long and distinguished literary career, Barfoot has won the Marian Engel Award and been longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, for Critical Injuries (2002). Her debut novel, however, seems to have vanished almost as thoroughly as its female protagonist; as you will hear from our discussion, we think the book richly deserves to be rediscovered.  

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