“Govier astonishes throughout in her ability to write epic themes intimately.” Publishers’ Weekly
Wonderful mention for The Printmaker’s Daughter…
great company with Edmund de Waal and Arundhati Roy!
Seven books that celebrate underappreciated crafts
The Printmaker’s Daughter by Katherine Govier
In Japan’s nineteenth-century Edo period, when artists and writers were suppressed by the shogunate, Kastushika Hokusai, a printmaker, lives with his daughter, Oei, working on pieces like The Great Wave that will one day become legend. However, in their time, they live in poverty, traveling often to avoid arrests. Through research, Govier imagines the life of Oei, who reveres her father above all else. She works in his studio for her whole life, and may well have been the hand behind some of his most famous works. This is a novel about artistry and the ukiyo-e tradition of woodblock printing and painting, but is as much about family and loyalty, and the place of women. In the final chapters, Oei says, “I am the brush. I am the line. I am the color”—and yet this is weighed down by one final admission: “I am she, Hokusai’s daughter.”
THE SHOE PROJECT
Katherine started The Shoe Project in Toronto in 2011. She knew newcomer women had much to give to Canada but were often sidelined by lack of writing and speaking skills in English.
Art In Fiction
Postcard 51 from Katherine
I hope everyone is having a good holiday. I am in the mountains and have just been given a pair of earbuds. I’m thinking I will start listening to podcasts. Trouble is, it’s so relaxing I tend to fall asleep before the end. This can happen with books too, but not so often. Maybe I’m just tired. Turkeys can take a lot out of you. There is the brining stage in which you try to grasp the slimy grey eighteen-pound ball and pull it out of the laundry tub. Then there is the stuffing stage, where you stick your arm up to your elbow into the cavity, followed by the serving, the eating, and the cleanup. Then the next morning, Boxing Day, which I would rename “turkey-wrestling day”, you are faced with the leftovers. The greasy and weirdly delicious carcass. You pull it apart, slice the meat, and boil the bones for stock. My mother’s turkey soup recipe is great, actually. Here I will even reveal the secret ingredient – Habitant French-Canadian pea soup.
But all in all at this point I’ve had it with turkey.
I have had it with 2022 as well. You may have noticed the crankiness entering my postcards. The death of an ex-husband (and father of my children) ought not to have been so hard, so complex, but it has been an eleven-month drama with no end in sight. Thinking that it may be time to tell that story, I have considered auto-fiction. But on reading even the best of it, for instance, Falling, by Annie Ernaux, the French Nobel Prize winner, I notice the falling asleep thing crops up again. Maybe not.
But what to do? The wars, revolutions, and revelations of wrong-doing have piled up around us. Not to mention that we are aging. Argh! Is there any way forward?
I am thinking about change. It’s time. Hence the earbuds. And this is what I am sending you, a recording in which I tell you about one truly inspiring, fabulous day in 2022. I hope you will listen. It makes it all worthwhile. Bring on 2023. We can do it. Listen here: https://writersradio.ca/ Every hour on the hour through January 9.
To Listen to the audio
- Visit writersradio.ca/home
- Click on podcasts
- Download A Door is Opening, part 2
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