Bring Me One Of Everything
Bring Me One of Everything is a novel which weaves real-life facts and fiction into an eloquent tale of suspense and intrigue. The title of the book is based on what the management of the Smithsonian is said to have demanded when sending ethonographers to native villages to gather artifacts for its collection: “Bring me one of everything”. The novel is several layered stories centered around a troubled writer, Alicia Purcell, who has been commissioned to create the libretto for an opera about an anthropologist named Austin Hart. He earned fame in the 1950s for cutting down and bringing back to museums the largest remaining stand of totem poles in the world. They belonged to the Haida tribes who inhabit the Queen Charlotte Islands in British Columbia. Hart’s subsequent suicide creates the mystery Alicia attempts to solve as she consults present-day tribe members, Hart’s friends and family, and his personal journals. Added to the complications of her search are Alicia’s imperious though ailing mother, a cast-off lover, a narcissistic composer, and her own demons of disaffection. But an overarching question dogs her and the reader: why she is so obsessed with Austin Hart and this quest?
“Pinder again shares her remarkable and unique prose gifts in this intensely-moving novel that explores the mysteries of the human heart and soul… Pinder’s ability to craft memorable lines (“The roadway to my history was always under construction”), only enhance her unflinching look at a woman’s struggle to find both peace and professional satisfaction.” Publishers Weekly Starred Review
“Bring Me One of Everything is big: big-hearted in its loving depiction of character; socially important in its moral take on the treatment of the Haida Nation; ambitious in its scope, gathering together ethnography, anthropology, history, art, music and personal relationships into the paradox of transformation… Like all great magicians in literature, Pinder conjures up a colourful multi-dimensional world of her own inhabited by characters who live their lives quite independently of their factual forebears… This is an extraordinarily rich book and one that, quite honestly, I could not put down until I had read the last page.” Vancouver Sun
“[A] fascinating novel… A compulsively readable work, [it] delves into issues of belonging, identity and greed, as well as of transformation, family and forgiveness.” Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Here is a book that takes the risk of being the many stories that make up life – and it does so with elegance, wit and extraordinary intelligence. It is a tour de force, a work of rare depth and brilliance.” — Hugh Brody
“The full narrative, marked by the author’s flowing and seemingly effortless prose, makes for a rewarding mix of fiction and fact, complex and many-layered, immersing the reader into evocative hues of local color and a sense of place made vivid by Pinder’s attention to detail and descriptive nuance. It’s a little magical.”
— Seattle Post Intelligencer
Under The House
Under the House is the story of a wealthy, prominent family which lives with a secret they are determined to keep. Only young Evelyn finds the courage to break down the wall of silence that keeps the truth at bay. Evelyn’s ally is Aunt Maude, a timid woman who has lived with the secret since childhood. The secret made her different, the butt of playground jokes. The secret was like the apples in the cellar under the house – rotting, sticky and soft.
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“A haunting first novel by a writer of great talent and sensitivity. It treats a difficult theme with humanity and admirable complexity” — Margaret Atwood
“[Pinder’s] writing takes chances that are poetically vivid…this is a brave work.” — The New York Times
“[E]verything exists on more than one level, and nothing is quite what it seems. ‘Under the House’ is a striking and engaging debut.” — Chicago Tribune
On Double Tracks
On Double Tracks is set without a hotly contested trial where the litigation skills of lawyer Megan Striclan are tested by the taciturn Judge who rules the courtroom. The story doubles back into the lives of these two characters: their childhood, their family, their loves, tracking how it is that they ended up in this dramatic face-off which puts their angels and their devils to the test. It is a story which challenges the received assumptions about native people and the land we claim.
This novel was short-listed for the Governor General’s Award for Fiction in Canada in 1990. Along with Saul Bellow, Leslie read that year at the International Festival of Authors, Harbourfront Toronto. Greg Gattenby, the festival’s indefatigable organizer, managed to have a star named for all the writers. Somewhere LHP’s star still shines up there, although On Double Tracks is out of print. Excerpts from the novel can be read in James Elkin’s publication of Pinder’s Selected Works, 2007
“On Double Tracks, an intriguing, densely written novel about covert angst and overt anger…an interior novel in the tradition of Faulkner…[Pinder is] a master at depicting the fictional unconscious.” — Quill & Quire
Indulgence in the Afternoon
Indulgence in the Afternoon is the story of Lucinda Yates, a well-known stage and screen actress, who is standing trial on a criminal charge of abducting a child. The courtroom drama threads through the book, unearthing and exposing how the impossible happened.
The passions of this actress become gossip for the tabloids, yet Yates refuses to take the witness stand. As detail upon detail is revealed of her near fatal attractions, the questions gather: Will Yates ever try to exonerate herself? And can she?
Indulgence reaches behind the story of Lucinda’s disintegration, into the mind of the judge who is trying her case, into the personalities of the lawyers whose strategies swing their clients’ fates. The symbolic scaffolding of the book is the bullfight. Compulsion and revenge rule the lives of the characters. Each must face in themselves something which corresponds to the cape for the bull: the enticing thing they must avoid, the place they shouldn’t go, the thing they shouldn’t want, but do. The novel is remarkable for telling a lush, erotic tale which has yearning for liberation at its core. Above all, this is a story about what happens when love turns to hate and everyone turns to the law.