The River Midnight

Publisher: Vintage Canada
Myth meets history in Blaszka, a fictional village in Poland and the site of this beautiful, multi-layered novel set in 1894. Listen. You can hear the excitement in the village square, the flimsy stalls piled high with wares, and in the centre Misha the midwife laughing. The wayward heart of Blaszka, she holds safe all the local secrets, including the stories of the four vilda hayas, "the wild creatures," as she and her girlfriends were known. Although the women have grown apart, unexpected love, a daughter imprisoned, and two orphan children sent home from America, entwine their lives again - all as Europe moves headlong towards chaos.

In this magnificent novel of magic and mystery, Lilian Nattel has resurrected a vanished world that explores the tensions between men and women, and celebrates the wordless bonds of friendship in a way that is simply unparalleled.

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Time grows short at the end of a century, like winter days when night falls too soon. In the dusk, angels and demons walk. Who knows who they are? Or which is which. But there they are, sneaking their gifts into the crevices of change. Even in a place like Blaszka, less than a dot on the map of Russian-occupied Poland....
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PRAISE FOR

"Richly imagined, sensuous in its details [and] spiced with energetic dialogue, The River Midnight offers pleasures on every page." --The Globe and Mail

"Enchanting.— Dynamic women, feckless men.— Nattel writes with refreshing bawdiness [and] uses imagery to lush effect.— Vibrant— Engaging." --The New York Times

"To read this novel is to watch Nattel as she weaves a marvellous, meticulous fabric of family, friendship, myth, and memory." --Quill & Quire

"The novel's undeniable pleasure is due to Nattel's intricate evocation of a lost world and the sense of privileged intimacy she bestows on her readers." --Calgary Herald (3/27/99)

"Lilian Nattel's mesmerizing first novel...is not simply remarkable as a historical text. Nattel's flair for the telling detail is just one treasure in her bag of writer's tricks...painterly and precise." --Washington Post (3/23/99)

"Nattel's emotional, panoramic narrative proves extraordinary...vibrant, imaginative debut..." --Entertainment Weekly (2/15/99)

"... in her ambitious and highly pleasing first novel ... Nattel weaves a tapestry-like portrait of Blaszka ... Richly imagined, sensuous in its details, spiced with energetic dialogue, The River Midnight offers pleasures on every page." --The Globe and Mail (Feb.6/99)

"To read this novel is to watch Nattel as she weaves a marvellous, meticulous fabric of family, friendship, myth, and memory." --Quill & Quire

"Complex and multifaceted, The River Midnight investigates traditional gender roles and how sexual thraldom can become an incentive to change and revolution…its greatest power is in its historical detail." --Canadian Forum Magazine