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Cricket in a Fist
Cricket in a Fist

Cricket in a Fist

One night, Agatha Winter's phone rings. Jasmine, her 13-year-old sister, has run away from home and needs to be picked up at the bus terminal. It's the anniversary of their mother's accident and subsequent split from the family. Jasmine is determined to exact revenge. Their mother, now a flashy self-help guru under a new moniker, preaches "willing amnesia": liberation by deliberately forgetting and disowning the past.

But "willing amnesia" is no innovation: it runs in the family. The girls' grandmother and great-grandmother, both Holocaust survivors, have found their own superficially innocuous yet fiercely destructive ways to fend off memory. In separate struggles, the girls work to break free from the burden of their family's silence.

Told in three major and two minor voices, Cricket in a Fist offers sophisticated psychological insight. Lewis's rich command of language transports us into a world of richly imagined characters.


Naomi K. Lewis was born in England, lived in Washington DC, and grew up in Ottawa. Her stories have been published in the Fiddlehead, the New Quarterly, the Antigonish Review, Prairie Fire, and Grain. "The Guiding Light," a chapter of the novel that began as a story, won the Fiddlehead Fiction Prize in 2007. Lewis now lives in Edmonton. Cricket in a Fist is her first book-length work of fiction.

"The emotional and psychological action in the novel is so rich and intricate that the reader is carried along through the decades of story without so much as a hiccup. This is a wonderfully well-rounded story with true-to-life characters, emotions, and situations, making it an impressive first effort by an obviously talented writer." — Quill & Qurie starred review

"Moving... genuine." — Globe and Mail

"In her passionately felt first novel, Naomi K. Lewis explores how the Holocaust distorts the lives of surviving generations. Cricket in a Fist asks difficult questions about personal freedom and the long arm of the past." — Martha Bailie

"Cricket in a Fist lays a handful of fingers on what goes wrong when we are young. There's a whole family of trouble beating here, and Naomi K. Lewis gives voice to it all — a smartly structured, tender, and candid first novel." — Michael Winter

268 pages
Pub date: February 22, 2008