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Mystical Rose
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Mystical Rose

In this remarkable novel, Richard Scrimger conjures the fragility of life and memory through a wholly convincing portrait, by turns hilarious and poignant, of a dying Rose Rolyoke. Set primarily in Southern Ontario, with brief stops in Philadelphia and New York City, Mystical Rose spans most of the twentieth century. Rose tells her story in what appear to be flashbacks, and in conversation with God, who stands at her bedside. Past and future, fact and allegory, what was and what might have been are all blended together. Easy for God, the All Seeing, who strides through time as if it were a familiar living room. Harder for Rose, lost in the darkness, who wonders if she loved her daughter well enough - or if she herself was ever truly loved.

“Mystical Rose is, astonishingly, the story of an entire life, and despite her dementia, the way she forgets words and misuses them, the way she telescopes time, or perhaps because of all these, by novel’s end the prayer that Rose offers strikes the reader as among the most exquisite, meaningful and richest of all time.”
- The Globe and Mail

“Rose Rolyoke, the protagonist of Richard Scrimger’s new novel Mystical Rose, stands in the heady company of Margaret Laurence’s Hagar Shipley and Carol Shields’ Daisy Goodwill. . . . Scrimger exerts such confident control over his material that any memories of The Stone Angel or The Stone Diaries eventually vanish. The life of Rose Rolyoke becomes a world unto itself, a world into which the reader is privileged to be invited. Mystical Rose is a book of true beauty and grace, delicately balanced and nuanced.”
- Quill & Quire

“The strength of Mystical Rose comes from its tender evocation of the daily indignities, pathos {and bursts of comedy} of failing health . . . It is the nuance of these acute if mundane realities where Scrimger excels.”
- National Post

“Everyone knows dementia is not funny. Except — in Scrimger’s deft hands, the humour always has an edge of tenderness and warmth… The prayer he writes for Rose might help readers understand why Mystical Rose should be on everybody’s reading list… I don’t know if God is listening, but Scrimger is. He’s a listener, a writer, a tale-teller, a songster, a humourist and a writer whose every book, it seems, will open for readers new ways of seeing and hearing.”
- The Globe and Mail

“Scrimger’s lean, vivid prose sweeps the reader away…. Rose’s story unfolds with such delicate measure, such intuitive ease, that it casts a spell the reader will be reluctant to break. The lucid, vivid memories are threaded with fragmented contemporary confusion, as Alzheimer’s exerts an ever-greater control… The life of Rose Rolyoke becomes a world unto itself, a world into which the reader is privileged to be invited. Mystical Rose is a book of true beauty and grace, delicately balanced and nuanced.”
- Quill & Quire

“Scrimger’s prose is elegant, understated, well-crafted; he handles the drifting mind of his heroine with a subtle mastery…”
- The Toronto Star

“The strength of Mystical Rose comes from its tender evocation of the daily indignities, pathos (and bursts of comedy) of failing health; from its incomplete but still enticing depiction of the strained bond between mother and daughter.”
- The National Post

“Especially effective is his portrayal of Rose’s life on the domestic staff of the Rolyokes, with its old-world, time-in-a-bottle quality… Scrimger’s convincing first-person account lends the story immediacy and draws the reader in.”
- The Hamilton Spectator

 

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Published by Doubleday Canada

Purchase this book on Indigo now!

 
           
 
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