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parsed(2023-08-22) - pubdate: 08/23
pub date: 1692680400
today: 1713243600, pubdate > today = false

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Like Every Form of Love

A Memoir of Friendship and True Crime

August 22, 2023 | Hardcover
ISBN: 9781039006201
Reader Reward Price: $31.50 info
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From the Scotiabank Giller Prize finalist, a gripping exploration of class, race, friendship, sexuality, what an author owes her subject and what it means to be a good person--all wrapped up in a riveting Canadian true crime story.

Padma Viswanathan was staying on a houseboat on Vancouver Island when she struck up a friendship with a warm-hearted, working-class queer man named Phillip. Their lives were so different it seemed unlikely to Padma that their relationship would last after she returned to her usual life. But, that week, Phillip told her a story from his childhood that kept them connected for more than twenty years.

Phillip was the son of a severe, abusive man named Harvey, a miner, farmer and communist. After Phillip's mother left the family, Harvey advertised for a housekeeper-with-benefits. And so Del, the most glamorous and loving of stepmothers, stepped into Phillip's life. Del had hung out with Fidel Castro and Che Guevara in Mexico City before the Cuban revolution; she was also a convicted bank robber who had violated her parole and was suspected in her ex-husband's murder. Phillip had long since lost track of Del, but when Padma said she'd like to write about her and about his own young life, he eagerly agreed. Quickly, though, Padma's research uncovered hidden truths about these larger-than-real-life characters. Watching the effects on Phillip as these secrets, evasions and traumas came to light, she increasingly feared that when it came to the book or the friendship, only one of them would get out of this process alive. 

In this unforgettable memoir, Padma reflects on the joys and frictions of this strange journey with grace, humour and poetry, including original readings of Hans Christian Andersen fairytales and other stories that beautifully echo her characters' adventures and her own. Like Every Form of Love is that rare thing: an irresistible literary page-turner that twists and turns, delivering powerful revelations, right to the very end.

About this Author

PADMA VISWANATHAN's fiction has been published in eight countries and shortlisted for the PEN USA Prize and the Scotiabank Giller Prize. Her stories, essays and short translations have appeared in Granta, The Boston Review, BRICK, and elsewhere. Her translation of the novel São Bernardo, by the Brazilian novelist Graciliano Ramos, was published in 2020 by New York Review Books. Originally from Edmonton, Alberta, she now divides her time between Montreal, Quebec, and Fayetteville, Arkansas, where she is Professor of Fiction at the University of Arkansas. She has served as fiction faculty at the Banff Centre, the Vermont Studio Center, Kundiman Asian-American Writers Retreat, Bread Loaf Writers' Conferences and the Low-Residency MFA of Fairleigh-Dickinson University. She is married to the poet and translator Geoffrey Brock.

ISBN: 9781039006201
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 296
Publisher: Random House of Canada
Published: 2023-08-22


"Padma Viswanathan . . . evokes an impressive mix of memory, friendship, true crime--and a detective story where her own skills play an important role. It's her first foray into true crime, a genre that allows her to employ the breadth of her literary skills. . . . The resulting memoir is painstakingly honest, always complex, sometimes strange." --Toronto Star

"Viswanathan's struggle is fascinating and humanizing. . . . A thought-provoking and personal examination of a difficult friendship and what sometimes gets sacrificed when a writer is determined to see a project through to its conclusion." --Winnipeg Free Press

"Like Every Form of Love is a rich hybrid of biography, autobiography, fairy tale and detective work. In moments of lyric intensity, Viswanathan searches others' minds, others' memories and discovers how fluid and fragmentary identity is. A potent meditation on what it means to turn others into story." --Rosemary Sullivan, author of The Betrayal of Anne Frank: A Cold Case Investigation
"Everyone knows that the teller tells the tale, but master tellers also know how the tale tells them, exacting a toll.  Padma Viswanathan is a born teller, a master reporter, a master senser, and indeed this may be her masterpiece. The tale she tells is a doozie, but so has been its toll, and her reader will experience the rare, sometimes heartrending privilege of partaking in both." --Lawrence Weschler, Mr. Wilson's Cabinet of Love and Seeing is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees

"As Padma Viswanathan's unlikely friendship with a stranger develops over twenty years, the two uncover his perilous childhood, his loving and dangerous stepmother, an unsolved murder and a thousand shards from his mysterious past. Between them, they connect the dots but lose each other in the long painful process of reassembling his history. This is the searching story of how digging for the truth tests the boundaries of a passionate friendship."  --Linda Spalding, author of Who Named the Knife and The Purchase

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