Monday, January 26, 2009

National Post - New & Notable Fiction


Author Steinmetz's great aunt Eva is the best kind of relative for a writer to have: one with a past and a willingness to disclose it. Monique Polak, reviewing in Montreal's Gazette, says this novel (a mix of fact and fiction) is about many things,including memory, the history of theatre, life in pre-and post-war Germany and complicated family dynamics, but the real star of this book is Eva herself, a masterful storyteller with an eye for detail. Steinmetz is the Ottawa-based fiction editor at Montreal's Vehicule Press. Some chapters are narrated by a youngish man, a literary type who sounds a lot like Steinmetz, and who describes himself as a "scavenger of a kind, aspirant family historian with literary ambitions." Some are narrated by that young man's father; and by his grandfather, Eva's older brother Hermann Hans. Other chapters, ones that seem closest to fiction, are told in the third person. But the most compelling voice is Eva's. Polak says of this first novel: "Though it is sometimes difficult to distinguish Steinmetz from his relatives, for the most parthis writing is fresh and alive." Buy it.

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