In Calamity's Wake by Natalee Caple
A Novel

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Calling her novel a work of metahistoriographic fiction, Caple has concocted an atmospheric, sometimes-soaring, but increasingly uneven amalgam of research and lyrical prose. Only fitfully successful.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

Miette has no desire to meet the mother who discarded her, a woman she knows only as an infamous soldier, drinker, and exhibition shooter: Martha Canary, made notorious as Calamity Jane. But Miette's beloved adoptive father makes a deathbed request that the two be reunited: "You have to do it . . . Promise me you will not change your mind. I know that you've heard sickening things and those things are all true but I'm sure she wants to know you.??

Keen to honor her father's wishes, Miette traverses the Badlands of the North American West, searching for her mother across a landscape occupied by strangers, ghosts, and animals. On her journey she meets an old lover of her father's, a man who claims to be her brother, an imposter she thinks is her mother, the Negro minstrel Lew Spencer, a kind madam who is her mother's best friend, a wolf who longs to protect her, and many others.

Woven into Miette's journey are the stories of Jane as told in legends, history books, and dime store novels; by her friends and enemies; and by the woman herself. The many ephemeral truths of these tales come together and Miette must decide whether to forgive the woman who had forsaken her for a life of danger and adventure. In Calamity's Wake vividly recalls one of the most colorful icons in America's history.
 

About Natalee Caple

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Natalee Caple launched her Canadian literary career in 1998 with her debut story collection "The Heart Is Its Own Reason," which captured the attention of the "New York Times Book Review" and garnered high international praise. She is the author of one previous novel, "The Plight of Happy People in an Ordinary World," as well as a collection of poetry entitled "A More Tender Ocean" and coeditor of "The Notebook: Interviews and New Fiction from Contemporary Writers," "Mackerel Sky "is her American debut.
 
Published September 17, 2013 by Bloomsbury USA. 241 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, History. Fiction
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Critic reviews for In Calamity's Wake
All: 3 | Positive: 1 | Negative: 2

Kirkus

Above average
Reviewed by Kirkus Reviews on Aug 17 2013

Calling her novel a work of metahistoriographic fiction, Caple has concocted an atmospheric, sometimes-soaring, but increasingly uneven amalgam of research and lyrical prose. Only fitfully successful.

Read Full Review of In Calamity's Wake: A Novel | See more reviews from Kirkus

Toronto Star

Above average
Reviewed by Jennifer Hunter on Mar 15 2013

To change the pace of reading, Caple sometimes throws in hackneyed 19th century song lyrics along with her more interesting prose and poetry...But I impatiently skipped some of Caple’s rhymes, eager to find more about what Miette was up to.

Read Full Review of In Calamity's Wake: A Novel | See more reviews from Toronto Star

National Post arts

Good
Reviewed by Natalie Zina Walschots on Apr 05 2013

In Calamity’s Wake thrives on its exotic setting and romantic time period, the presence of ghosts and myths.

Read Full Review of In Calamity's Wake: A Novel | See more reviews from National Post arts

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