Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Imposter Bride

Lily Azerov steps down from the train in post-war Montreal*, nervously scanning the station to find Sol, the man she has come to marry.  Sol takes one look and decides to back out of the long-distance-arranged marriage.  Lily's rejection doesn't last long, because Sol's brother Nathan soon asks her to marry him.  For Nathan, what starts as pity turns into love and soon Sol is ruing his impulsive decision.

This might sound like the set-up for a classic novel about a love triangle, but the heart of The Imposter Bride is the gradual unfolding of the back stories of the various characters in the novel.  They all have fascinating stories and the jumps back and forth in time, which can sometimes be disconcerting, were very gracefully handled.  It was a good read, and I can see why it was short-listed for the Giller Prize.

*The story had particular resonance for me, because of its setting Cote St. Luc, the neighbourhood immediately north of Montreal West.  Half the students in my high school Montreal West High were from that neighbourhood.

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