Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Teresa Toten

Teresa Toten is the author of the acclaimed Blondes series, as well as The Game, The Onlyhouse, among other books. Toten has twice been shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Award. Born in Zagreb, Croatia, she arrived in Canada 13 days later, and now lives in Toronto.

Toten's new novel is Beware That Girl.

Recently I asked the author about what she was reading. Her reply:
Quite unusually for me, I have recently completed novels that are part or will be part of a series. The first was an ARC I was given while on tour, Julia Vanishes by Catherine Egan and it’s the first book of a YA Fantasy Trilogy. The protagonist is a trained and skilled thief. Julia is deeply flawed, selfish, a tad amoral and very real. Egan’s world making is impressive but it’s her characters who include an alcoholic and a womanizing love interest who are treated with compassion and bewilderment that bind the story. No one or nothing is pure good or pure evil. There are only varying shades of grey in this page turner.

The Neapolitan stories by Elena Ferrante were not page turners for me. In fact, I found myself rereading passages and going back to entire chapters time and again with each of the four books. My copies are dog-eared and there are notes on random pages that are indecipherable. This started with My Brilliant Friend and ended with The Story of the Lost Child. The books have been praised and analyzed by finer minds than mine, but suffice to say that Lenu and Lila our two best friends will live in me and with me for years. We meet the girls as children in a Neapolitan courtyard. The violence and poverty of their childhood is visceral. The stench of the stairwells and the nerve-wracking tension around all-important exams are equally alive. Then over a course of a lifetime and four novels, we chart the almost unbearable complexity of female friendship, betrayal, love, Italian history, literature and family. Every character is frustrating and breathtakingly compelling. I am in awe.
Visit Teresa Toten's website.

The Page 69 Test: Beware That Girl.

--Marshal Zeringue