A wanderer arrives by chance on Inishbream, a rocky dot in the sea just off the west coast of Ireland. A lover of boats and a strong worker, she soon marries the young owner of her stone cottage. For a time, she does her woman's work, fishes with her husband, and walks along the shore, imagining Saint Brendan and the invisible world so real to the islanders. Through the winter, she repays Inishbream storytellers with tales of coastal British Columbia, not so very different, after all, from their own.
In the spring, the islanders learn that their isolation will end: the government has promised them modern houses on the mainland. The wanderer cannot wait for the migration; she must leave Inishbream and go home alone. In the islanders' soft dialect and the wanderer's own tongue, Inishbream conjures relationships between the newcomer and her husband, between the island people, the sea, and the land, and between the coastal landscapes of reality and imagination. In the uneasy peace of partial acceptance, the foreigner grows, changes, and starts to envision her own place in the world.
Inishbream is also available in a hand-printed and hand-bound limited edition from Barbarian Press. That Inishbream was chosen for this exclusive private edition attests to the clarity of Theresa Kishkan's storytelling and the beauty of her writing.
Theresa Kishkan came to national attention in 2000, with her first full-length novel, Sisters of Grass. A true "writer's writer," she has been steadfastly championed by her peers as a writer against whom others measure their own work, and she has fostered the careers of many other writers while refining her own craft. A popular reader in British Columbia, Washington, and other parts of western Canada and the US, she is an enthusiastic organizer of and participant in regional literary events, and she has twice won Province of British Columbia Cultural Services awards. Kishkan's poetry and essays have appeared in periodicals including Brick, Canadian Forum, the Fiddlehead, the Malahat Review, Matrix, the Vancouver Sun, and Manoa (Hawaii) and in five book-length collections including the highly praised Black Cup and Morning Glory, which won the 1992 bp Nichol Chapbook Prize. She has also published a collection of essays on place and history, entitled Red Laredo Boots (New Star, 1996), which Susan Musgrave selected as one of her favourite books of the decade in BC Bookworld. Inishbream is based on a year the author spent on such an island in the 1970s. Today, she lives on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia with her husband, the poet John Pass.
"Inishbream is a story imbued with the rhythms of speech and of the natural world, of dying and living, of light and change. It holds the same fundamental truths as a sung air, as the hanging notes of a tin whistle, of the resonance of pipes." — Quill & Quire starred review
Pub date: April 1, 2001