With the publication of A Basket of Apples: Stories by Shirley Faessler, Now and Then Books brings all six of Faessler’s acclaimed “Kensington Market” stories back into print for the first time since their initial publication in book form in 1988.
Possessing a remarkable ear for dialogue and a keen eye for the biting ironies of life, Faessler brings the magic of a born storyteller to these linked stories about a coterie of Jewish immigrants in Toronto’s Kensington Market in the 1920s and 1930s. The stories create a richly-textured portrait of downtown immigrant life, a world of peddlers, bootleggers, “dollar-down” merchants and ordinary folks down on their luck that is imbued with realism, compassion, humour and humanity.
Toronto-born-and-bred Shirley Faessler grew up in a small house on Bellevue Avenue, and later presided over a theatrical rooming house on Sherbourne Street, holding court at its famous kitchen table, at the centre of a burgeoning cultural scene. She began her literary career in 1967, when she was already a grandmother, with the publication of her first story in the Atlantic Monthly. Soon, authors who had inspired her became her friends and admirers — Mavis Gallant, Margaret Laurence and Alice Munro among them. She went on to write numerous other stories as well as a novel, Everything in the Window (1979) in what was a brief but remarkable career.
A book launch for A Basket of Apples, scheduled for Sunday June 1, 2014 as part of the 2014 Toronto Jewish Literary Festival, will feature the author’s granddaughter, playwright, actor and theatrical director Karen Hines, reading excerpts from her late grandmother’s works.
“A witty and uncompromising writer.” — Alice Munro
“Indisputably one of Toronto’s most gifted writers.” — Toronto Star
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