Winner of the WILLA Literary Award for Historical Fiction
Finalist, Fiction Award, Saskatchewan Book Awards
Twenty-year-old Moira, the daughter of a Newfoundland doctor, dreams of becoming a doctor herself; but when she becomes pregnant out of wedlock, she is banished to the bleak landscape of southern Saskatchewan in 1906. There, she must come to terms with her predicament, her pioneer environment, and her employment as a “dollybird,” a term applied to women who might be housekeepers, whores—or both.
A saga of birth, death, and the violent potential of both men and the elements, Dollybird explores the small mercies that mean more than they should under a vast prairie sky that waits, not so quietly, for people to fail.
Praise for Dollybird
“An absolutely stunning novel that I hope gets some notice. I’ve reviewed some 4,000 books for the Sun-Times in the past 20 years; only a few times did something new glue me like this one. Dollybird. Very nice.” – Andrew Armitage, Book Editor for The Sun-Times
“Dollybird is a page-turner. Every character is fully realized, crippled by pains specific and universal. The writing is shot through with poetry, even the landscape is rendered harsh and graceful in the same moment . . . Such a cast of characters- everyone steps off the page, even those we only catch a glimpse of . . . Dollybird covered me in dust and mud; the pages are intoned with every kind of love: the absent, the lost, the yearning, the found. Read Dollybird.” – Katherine Lawrence, award winning writer and poet (author of Stay)
“Dollybird explores human relationships: parents and children, men and women, siblings and female friends, and how these connections are further complicated in the face of an indifferent, unpredictable natural environment . . . Lazurko’s straightforward prose transports the reader to early 20th-century Canada . . .Hers is an unidealized portrayal of life at that time, as known to the working poor, the disenfranchised and the sickly. Her characters are well-developed, flawed and frightened. Dollybird, like all good novels, and life itself, leaves much to ponder and question. It does reassure us, however, that placing ourselves in a new location does not necessarily mean that we have left old attitudes and beliefs behind.” – Laurie Glenn Norris for the Telegraph-Journal
“In a well-plotted, readable novel, Lazurko helps redress a long-standing misconception that the European re-settling of Saskatchewan was done only by men. As one title proudly proclaimed a number of years ago, there were mighty women, too.” – Bill Roberston, The Saskatoon Star Phoenix
“The novel’s strength lies in its glimpses into not only the hardship but also the tight sense of community that marked pioneering men and women . . . Lazurko’s title speaks to the confining roles women were permitted to have as the West was ‘settled’ and to the difficulties women faced when they, like Moira, tried to resist them.” –The Coastal Spectator
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