Mouthing the Words

Publisher: Anchor Canada
Thelma is six years old, and life at home is unsettling and disturbing. When her family moves from England to Canada, she encounters potential parents to replace her deeply flawed pair and even makes some friends, but mostly she lives in the fertile, extraordinarily vivid, and skewed world of her own imagination. Reminiscent of Jeanette Winterson and Sylvia Plath, and by turns harrowing and wonderfully funny, Mouthing the Words is the remarkable first novel from bestselling author Camilla Gibb.


“Camilla Gibb displays sure judgment and finesse in dealing with a brutal subject. She has a distinctive voice, but I think Lorrie Moore fans will admire her economy and wryness.”
—Hilary Mantel, Man Booker Prizewinning author of Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies

“Uniquely tackles family horrors with wit and verve suggestive of Wilde at his spirited best. Gibb's narrative of a troubled childhood leaves you poised—sometimes within a single sentence—between laughter and heartbreak. . . . A compelling journey ending in an admirably unsentimental redemption. I can’t improve on Tomson Highway’s succinct cover blurb: ‘An arresting new voice . . . Pay attention!’”
The Globe and Mail

“[Gibb] writes about gut-wrenching issues in a gut-bustingly hilarious way. . . She stands poised to make a huge splash worldwide.”
NOW Magazine

 “[A] powerful and darkly comic novel.”
National Post

 “Gibb scales her story small, twists her sentences into prickly, unsentimental assaults and ends up with a portrait of terrible, comic humanity.”
The New York Times

Mouthing the Words rings with an authority rarely found in first novels. By dint of Gibb's lush, visceral prose, Mouthing the Words persuasively charts one woman's journey back to wholeness.”
The Washington Post

“If it weren’t for Gibb’s smart, punchy prose—a smashing combination of the heartbreaking and the hilarious—this might have been a sad story. . . . [But] Gibb is too smart and the novel is far too compelling . . . to be dismissed as another tale of torment. Instead, she challenges both the reader and narrator, eliciting an examination of the self—the good, the bad, the pleasure, the pain, and the unrelenting humor that exists in all of us.”