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A Certain Grace

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  16 ratings  ·  10 reviews
In the tradition of short story writers Alice Munro and Carol Shields, Binnie Brennan examines the minutiae of ordinary life. During a tipsy night out escaping the frustrations of daily routines, two middle-aged school teachers try their luck at scoring a joint. A long-haul trucker drives an injured butterfly to its breeding ground in Florida, giving them both a much-neede ...more
Paperback, 128 pages
Published May 2012 by Quattro Books
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James Fisher
Jul 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Every night before turning out the lights, I do a little reading. Last night I finished A Certain Grace (2012, Quattro) by Halifax author Binnie Brennan. I quickly came to the conclusion that I shouldn't read short stories before bed, especially the type that Ms. Brennan writes. Oh, not that they are scary in any way. I can sleep quite easily after reading H.P. Lovecraft! No, her short stories are of the type that keep the wheels turning in the mind long after you put the book down. Which is a g ...more
Sarah Brideau
Apr 16, 2014 rated it liked it
A Certain Grace is a book of short stories by the Halifax-based writer Binnie Brennan. Though she was born in Toronto, the amount of inspiration Brennan gets from her Maritime habitat is evident: whether the story takes place in the city or in a less urban setting, you can feel the omniscient shoreline and the salty East-coast air rustling between the lines of her words. The collection paints intimate portraits that pull the readers inside a tight the bubble. Each story features a character that ...more
Oct 27, 2013 rated it liked it
These are stories of longing and loss that aim, sometimes, to tug at heartstrings. Binnie Brennan is not afraid to place emotion at the forefront of her narrative, particularly in cases where a character is mourning the loss of a loved one. But often the crux of these stories can be found in an encounter, the sudden or prolonged intersection of two lives that briefly illuminates a moment in time, shining a light on the past and enriching those lives with new understanding. Brennan's voice in the ...more
Barbara Sibbald
Mar 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
A charming collection of short stories: forthright yet funny, poignant yet accessible. Of particular note is "Guy in a Hoodie." I couldn't stop laughing.

She also knows how to turn a phrase, as witnessed by this passage from "Storey's Keeper":
“Walter’s earliest memory is one of not being listened to. Of this he is certain; the details, however are revised: memories tangled with imagination equals history. History changes all the time, he knows; it’s the prerogative of a story’s keeper.”

Aug 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Some of the stories really grabbed me, while others were not as memorable. I loved the ones set in places I know in Halifax, like the story about two retired teachers having a night on the town who have an encounter with a drug dealer outside the public library.
I admired the wide variety of characters and situations in this collection, and am very happy to discover this fine local writer. My favourite story pairs the long-distance driver of an eighteen wheeler with a butterfly.
Jul 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: escape-reading
Brilliant, perfectly paced stories. More please.
Aug 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Still reading, but it's lovely. So proud of you Binnie!
Edward Fenner
Jun 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Binnie is a wonderful writer and this collection of short stories demonstrates her great skill in weaving thoughtful, engaging narratives with warmth and realism. I want more!
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Mar 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2012
So much love for this collection of short stories.
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Binnie Brennan’s short stories have appeared in a number of Canadian and American literary journals, such as Existere, The Adirondack Review, Glossolalia, and All Rights Reserved, and in 2007 her children’s story "A Spider’s Tale" was adapted for the stage featuring Symphony Nova Scotia. Her best-selling novella, Harbour View, was shortlisted for an Atlantic Book Award, longlisted for the ReLit Aw ...more

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