Blood Secrets by Nadine McInnis

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...it’s unclear if McInnis intends a tone of nostalgic longing or some sort of joke about how both the mother and the woman recall the once-young man’s very large penis. The punchline never arrives, nor does a more resonant idea or feeling.
-National Post arts

Synopsis

SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2012 OTTAWA BOOK AWARD

"As a potential heir to the tradition of Margaret Atwood and Alice Munro, McInnis is off to a promising start."—Publishers Weekly


An affair that begins in an apothecary’s garden brings Joyce to a hospice, where she tends to the dying alongside her own grief. A middle-aged woman recalls the lovable, lavable secret of the first night spent on her husband’s farm. A mother and daughter discuss suicide while hiking a shipwreck survivor’s trail.


In Nadine McInnis’s sophomore collection, boozers repent, gamblers reform, cheaters suffer, the deaf speak volumes, and cancer patients string flowers in their hair. Probing and compassionate, executed with a steady hand, Blood Secrets is an excavation of endings and their revelations: the affair that ends a marriage, the disease that ends a life, the effect of a long-ago suicide. And as her characters struggle to administer to each other in their final moments, each story becomes an autopsy, dissecting bodies for their secrets and daily life for the things it hides.


Nadine McInnis is the author of seven books and the winner of a CBC Literary Award.


 

About Nadine McInnis

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Nadine McInnis was born in Belleville, Ontario in September, 1957, and grew up in Toronto and Ottawa. She attended Colonel By Secondary School, where she began a lifelong friendship with the novelist, playwright and actor Ann-Marie MacDonald. She studied English Literature at the University of Ottawa, and after spending two years on Thunderchild Reserve, Saskatchewan and another two years on a farm near Livelong, Saskatchewan, she returned to Ottawa. She has two children, Nadia (born 1982) and Owen(born 1988), and is married to Tim Fairbairn. Among her seven books, Two Hemispheres (Brick, 2007) was shortlisted for the Pat Lowther and ReLit Awards, and is a book-length poetic exploration of illness and health partially inspired by the first medical photographs of women patients of the Surrey County Lunatic Asylum in 1850. Ten photos are included. McInnis' work has appeared in a variety of journals, including The Malahat Review, The New Quarterly, Event, and Room of One's Own. McInnis has published widely in magazines in Canada and is a past winner of a CBC literary award and the Ottawa Book Award. She joined the faculty of Algonquin College in 2006, after working as a policy analyst in the Canadian federal government where she focused on the publishing industries in Canada.
 
Published November 27, 2012 by Biblioasis. 226 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Blood Secrets
All: 2 | Positive: 1 | Negative: 1

National Post arts

Below average
Reviewed by Emily M. Keeler on Oct 19 2012

...it’s unclear if McInnis intends a tone of nostalgic longing or some sort of joke about how both the mother and the woman recall the once-young man’s very large penis. The punchline never arrives, nor does a more resonant idea or feeling.

Read Full Review of Blood Secrets | See more reviews from National Post arts

National Post arts

Good
Reviewed by Emily M. Keeler on Oct 19 2012

These are forgivable missteps in a very strong collection. The stories seem to get shorter as the book comes to a close, perhaps mirroring the last breaths of so many of the characters described therein. “Lucky,” my personal favourite and the second-to-last story, is especially remarkable...

Read Full Review of Blood Secrets | See more reviews from National Post arts

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