Juliet in August
By Dianne Warren
(Berkley Trade, Paperback, 9780425261002, 384pp.)
Publication Date: April 2, 2013
In her luminous debut novel, acclaimed writer Dianne Warren captures the honesty of the human spirit and the quest for companionship…
Juliet is a blink-and-you-miss-it kind of town—a dusty oasis on the edge of a vast stretch of sand. It’s easy to believe nothing of consequence happens here, but the hills vibrate with the rich stories of its people: Lee, a rancher afraid to accept responsibility for the land his adoptive parents left him; Norval, the bank manager forced to foreclose on his neighbors; Willard and Marian, a shy couple beyond middle age, fumbling with the recognition of their feelings for each other; Vicki, a mother of six struggling to keep her chaotic household afloat. And somewhere, lost in the sand, a camel named Antoinette.
Juliet in August unfolds over the course of just one night and day in the lives of its characters. Their stories intersect and overlap as the entire spectrum of human comedy and heartbreak is refracted through their little struggles and deeper concerns. With wit, thoughtfulness, and unforgettable characters, Juliet in August confirms Dianne Warren as a powerful new talent.
Dianne Warren is the author of three previous collections of short stories. This is her first novel. Published under the title Cool Water, it won the 2010 Governor General’s Award for fiction, one of Canada’s most prestigious literary prizes.
- The novel begins one hundred years ago, with the story of a legendary cowboy horse race. It then jumps to the present and follows several characters who live within proximity of the route of that race. Why do you think the writer included the story of the horse race? What does it add to the novel?
“This wry and beautiful book about ordinary people with intricate lives and complex relationships…an exquisite gift.”—The Boston Globe
“In an inspired feat of storytelling, Dianne Warren links the daily lives of a compelling cast of characters in a prairie community in ways that are as heart-true as they are surprising. Warm, witty, and wisely crafted, Juliet in August is a rich and encompassing novel of unforgettable neighbors who become our own.” —Ivan Doig, author of The Whistling Season
"Stark and vividly drawn, the characters achingly human—I couldn't tear myself away from this novel."—Eleanor Brown, New York Times bestselling author of The Weird Sisters