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Leaving Now
Leaving Now

Leaving Now


160 Pages, 5.4 x 7.9

Formats: Trade Paper

Trade Paper, $18.95 (US $18.95) (CA $18.95)

Publication Date: February 2012

ISBN 9781894759748

Rights: US

Caitlin Press Inc. (Feb 2012)

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Set in the volatile 1970s and '80s, when social norms and expectations were changing rapidly, Leaving Now is the emotionally candid story of a mother's anguish as she leaves her husband to love a woman. In this second book, Paré masterfully blends aspects of her personal journey with her own version of a well-loved fairy tale. Gudrun, the five-hundred-year-old mother of Hansel and Gretel, appears hazily in the narrator's kitchen—presumed dead, all but written out of her own tale, but very much alive. Gudrun spins a yarn of love, loss and leaving, offering comfort and wisdom to the conflicted young mother. Raising children is not for the faint of heart; all parents know the anguish of parting from a child, even if for the briefest moment. Leaving Now is for mothers, fathers, sons and daughters. It is for anyone who has ever lived in a family.


"[A]n unsettling, tender lyric, beautifully written in a mixture of poems, prose fragments and fairytales, a story like no other. Read it if you're a mother. Read it if you're not. It's a splendid, unique contribution to our country's literature." — Lorna Crozier

"Paré is a past winner of the Victoria Butler Book Prize, and it is easy to see why. She moves seamlessly between poetry and prose in the pages of Leaving Now, writing with an obvious respect for language. By making the choice to incorporate as much poetry into the novel as she does, Paré limits the actual number of words that makes up her story. There is a significant amount of white space in an already slim book, so it is especially important that the right words are in the right spaces. It's a job Paré has done very well." — Colin Holt, the Times Colonist

"Paré's character, let's call her Mum, tells her story in prose, poetry and fairy tales. The boundaries of genre are stretched just as Mum stretches the possibilities of life. As with our memories that appear in a mysterious and circular way, events don't unfold chronologically in Leaving Now. Are we here? Have we left? Are we just planning to leave? The white space in the book offers a kind of relief. Separating from one's husband and children requires some deep breathing and is always heart-wrenching. That's true for anyone I would say. In my case, I did exactly what the character in this book did and at the same time." — Mary Ann Moore, Story Circle Book Reviews

"Leaving Now is sometimes harrowing, occasionally funny, often heartbreaking and always engrossing. Paré's distinctive style artfully mixes poetry, personal journal, feminist socio-political analysis and literary analysis of fairy tales. You can read the book with pleasure for its overall cleverness, for its emotional depth, for its poetry or for its setting in Montreal and Vancouver. You can read it as a heroic quest by the narrator to integrate personal truths within their historical moments and the literary traditions by which we try to understand our lives. Just read it." — Debby Yaffe, Herizons

Author Biography

Arleen Pare's first book, 'Paper Trail', won the Victoria Butler Book Prize and was shortlisted for the Dorothy Livesay BC Book Prize in Poetry. Pare completed an MFA in poetry at the University of Victoria and her poetry and prose have appeared in a number of Canadian literary journals. Before beginning a career in writing, she worked as a social worker for two decades in mental health housing in Vancouver. She now lives in Victoria with her partner, and has two sons and two grandsons.