What It Takes to Be Human
, the haunting new novel by Orange Prize–shortlisted author Marilyn Bowering, considers the life of Sandy Grey, an idealistic young air cadet who wants nothing more than to enlist in the Second World War. Sandy’s father, a fundamentalist preacher, refuses to grant his son’s request, fearing that the world is living its very last days. When Sandy’s attempts to oppose his father turn violent, the novel takes a dramatic shift in setting into the fragmented world of an asylum for the criminally insane. Bowering pushes her characters to the very fringe of civilization, love and sanity during the darkening days of a distant conflict to expose the acute parallels between their lives and the lives of those being torn apart by war.
"One of Canada’s most eloquent storytellers has given us a compelling and exquisitely crafted tale about hope, love and creativity."—Susan Swan
"Marilyn Bowering has written an astonishing novel, full of hope and courage—a brilliant antidote to cynicism and despair."—Isabel Huggan
"Marilyn Bowering is one of our whistle-blowers. Her new book tells us What It Means to Be Human—something we seem on the brink of forgetting. Classic in form, this white-knuckle book leads us through a contemporary underworld before bringing us up, once again, to the light. Required reading!"—P.K. Page
Penguin Canada; March 2017
- ISBN 9780735234338
- Read online, or download in secure EPUB format
- Title: What It Takes to Be Human
- Author: Marilyn Bowering
Imprint: Penguin Canada
About The Author
MARILYN BOWERING’s first novel, To All Appearances a Lady, was a New York Times Notable Book. Her second novel, Visible Worlds, was shortlisted for the prestigious Orange Prize, nominated for the Dublin IMPAC Prize, and awarded the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize. Visible Worlds was praised by The Independent as “a tour de force… A wonderful piece of storytelling” and by The New York Times Book Review as “a vast, sprawling feast of a book.” Her most recent novel What it Takes to Be Human was praised by The Globe and Mail as “a great novel… [Bowering] does not seek moments to be brilliant: those moments just arrive.” Marilyn Bowering also works as a poet and librettist. Her opera, Marilyn Forever, with the composer Gavin Bryars, has been performed in Canada, the USA, Australia and in Europe. She lives on Vancouver Island.