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Connie Gault
A Beauty



Book Cover

In the drought-ridden days of the 1930s, eighteen-year-old Elena Huhtala finds herself living alone, a young Finnish woman in a small community of Swedes. Her mother has been dead for many years, her father, burdened by hardship, has disappeared, and she becomes an object of pity and fascination to her neighbours.

When a stranger shows up at a country dance, Elena takes up with him and leaves the village of Trevna behind. What follows is a journey in Bill Longmore's flashy Lincoln roadster, over gravel roads, surrounded by the dry, barren fields of Saskatchewan and the big, indifferent sky. As they pass through small prairie towns, with their wide, dusty streets and shabby hotel rooms, we meet an unforgettable group of locals, whose stories take us into their individual and surprising worlds. No one is unaware of Elena's enigmatic presence among them. At the centre, is the girl Ruth. Her chance encounter with Elena upends her life and creates an unexpected, and unwanted, bond between them that haunts them both for decades. Distanced and apart, in their own ways, both search for what has been lost.

Written in luminous prose, threaded through with sardonic wit and deep wisdoms, A Beauty is at once poignant and razor-sharp, moving and mysterious, as it explores the meaning of home and belonging, the nature of forgiveness, and the ways of coming to love.


Praise for A Beauty:

Longlisted, Scotiabank Giller Prize (2015)
Winner, Saskatoon Book of the Year Award (2016)
Winner, Saskatoon Fiction Award (2016)

“Gault is terrifyingly perspicacious about small-town life. . . . but the real beauty here is in the diversity of voices telling the story.” —Globe and Mail

“This simple perfect book rings true . . . Gault’s prose is so evocative she makes readers homesick for the land, even those who’ve never ridden across the Prairies under a setting sun. . . . Characters are richly drawn, their lives woven together as the years pass . . . . A Beauty is a novel of loss, longing and love. Sometimes the love isn’t expressed in words but in the silences that hang between repressed souls who yearn to be understood—and so seldom are.” —Toronto Star

"What really set this apart, though, is the combination of the familiar and expected—a stranger comes to town—with a jolt of the strange. It's like electricity in the air before a storm. The reader falls into this piece and we want more, more." —City of Regina Writing Award jury citation

"A Beauty is a radiant novel, filled with vivid life: startling, clear, and real. Connie Gault's unadorned, transparent prose and her ruthless but loving intelligence make her one of Canada's very best writers." —Marina Endicott, author of the bestselling novel Good to a Fault, winner of the Commonwealth Prize (Canada and the Carribbean) and finalist for the Giller Prize

“Gault's keen eye for detail heightens readers' interest, at the same time adding depth to the story . . . this poignant novel about ordinary people has much to offer — vivid characterization, a compelling story and an exploration of universal themes such as loss, belonging and the nature of forgiveness.” —Winnipeg Free Press


Praise for Connie Gault's Euphoria:

SHORTLISTED, COMMONWEALTH WRITERS PRIZE FOR BEST BOOK IN THE CARIBBEAN AND CANADA REGION (2010)

"Euphoria reads like a riff on a Dickensian novel . . . The delight [Gault] takes in providing crisp images, encapsulating a moment in the development of the story, is clear and satisfying." —Winnipeg Free Press

"In Gladdie McConnell, Gault has created a heroine who takes her place beside Margaret Laurence's Hagar Shipley and Willa Cather's Antonia Shimerda." —Literary Review of Canada

"Our lives, Gault reveals, are fragile things, knocked about by the whims of wind and well-meaning. . . But Gault's assured voice and her feel for just the right phrase to help shape a character . . . keep the story intact"
National Post


Genre: Literary fiction
Setting: Prairie Canada
Period: 1930s-1960s
Publication Date: 2014


English (Canada) rights, McClelland & Stewart

For all other rights contact The Cooke Agency.
Connie Gault

Photo Credit:
Don Hall

Connie Gault is the author of three books of fiction. The most recent, Euphoria, was short-listed for the Commonwealth Prize for Best Book (Canada and the Caribbean) 2010, the Saskatchewan Book of the Year, and the High Plains Fiction Award 2010. It won the Saskatchewan Book Award for Fiction in 2010. She has won many awards for her short fiction and one of her stories was made into the feature length film, Solitude, for which she co-wrote the script with director Robin Schlat.

She's also written several radio dramas and four published stage plays, which have been professionally produced across Canada. Her radio play, Sky, was broadcast on BBC World Service, and her stage play, Red Lips, was given a public reading at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago.

Connie lives in Regina and is at work on her next novel.