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Rumi and the Red Handbag

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3.92  ·  Rating details ·  77 ratings  ·  24 reviews
Rumi and the Red Handbag follows the lives of Shaya and Ingrid-Simone, working together one winter at a second-hand clothing shop. Theodora's Consignment Shop becomes a small world where Shaya, an academic who abandoned studying the secrets of women writers, finds in Ingrid-Simone a reason to begin writing again, on scraps of paper and post-its. Fresh, unique and intellige ...more
Paperback, 144 pages
Published October 2015 by Palimpsest Press
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Average rating 3.92  · 
Rating details
 ·  77 ratings  ·  24 reviews


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Lindy
At my book club, we all raved about this quiet, beautiful novel. The friendship that grows between two women who work together is portrayed so realistically. We talked about the many ways that Ingrid-Simone and Shaya helped each other, and were reminded of the many ways we benefit through similar relationships.
Kerry Clare
Oct 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books I've read this year. Check out my review on my blog. ...more
Barbara
Sep 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Rumi and the Red Handbag is a such a gorgeous reading experience. It has everything--beautiful, intriguing characters with plenty of whimsy and mystery, charming settings that are so real you'll long to spend more time there, a plot that pulls you gracefully through page after page, suspense and surprising secrets, and all of it charmingly packaged with Lemay's inimitable style and connection to all things lovely. I loved every bit of it, and can't wait for the next novel. And the people I've re ...more
Kim
Nov 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: canadian, friend
Reading Rumi and the Red Handbag was a visceral experience. I felt the book. Shawna's writing is so vibrant and lush and careful; it's like being wrapped in a kitten-soft blanket.

Shaya, Ingrid-Simone, and the oft-absent second-hand, high-end shop owner share a brief winter together, selling used clothing and accessories, including, as the title suggests, handbags. Each woman is avoiding something in her life; each of their stories unfurl at a different pace.

I can't say enough how beautiful Shawn
...more
Jocelyn
Dec 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016-reads
Four and a half stars.
Rumi and the Red Handbag is an intriguing delight. Lemay writes so eloquently, offering deep insights into our human beingness. The story’s main characters —Shaya (a narrator in the style of internal musings and reflection) and Ingrid-Simone— meet one winter while working in Theodora’s secondhand clothing boutique. Earlier on in the story I may have felt it a tad heavy, overwritten perhaps, but the minute I entertained this thought, in the very next sentence I’d be bowled o
...more
Lee
Jan 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book is a masterful exploration of the tender threads of relationship and, as in all of Lemay's work, a discovery of profound beauty in the every day. It's contemplative, rich and compelling. It is one of those treasures that should be carried at all times win a beautiful hand bag. For lovers of all things spiritual, philosophical, literary and beautiful, this is required reading. ...more
Louella Lester
Nov 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Lovely read.
Danielle
Jul 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written. The character Ingrid Simone has captured my soul.
Eva Tihanyi
Jan 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I love this book!!!
Nathan Waddell
Feb 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing
If you were to make a Venn diagram of Shawna Lemay's interests and my own, it would be two nearly separate circles. Nearly. She's a local-to-me writer that I discovered on Twitter probably from her beautiful photography ( Venn overlap!) and I slowly came to realize she may be Edmonton's greatest treasure due to her writing. "Wow this poem is so good, what does her blog say? Holy sh*t this essay is so true! Wait, she wrote a book? But it's about purses? I... I mean... I don't really think about p ...more
Tamara Willems
Jun 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I don’t quite feel as if I can adequately do this lovely book justice, for just how wonderful I thought it was.
It is just simply the most beautiful thing.
It had me completely consumed by every single word, image and character. From the vintage feel of the secondhand dress shop, to the mysteries contained. The perceptions of the known as well as the unknown. To friendships, connections and to questions. To beauty, kindness and fragile things.
To the courage it sometimes takes one to just be seen.
...more
Amanda
Feb 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, misfits
i loved this book. this is not surprising to me because i adore everything this author does. both the narrator Shaya Neige and the character she writes about, Ingrid-Simone are unusual and fascinating women who I related to. I loved all the literary references, the sheer whimsy of this novel and the depth. There's a kindness and compassion throughout this book, a gentleness and also a sadness that is so well rendered. Some of the images from the book continue to remain with me the morning after ...more
Mary Mackie
Feb 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
It is hard to put into words my reactions to this book. In some ways it is ethereal: when I try to describe it the words run through my mind like sand through fingers. When I first started to read it I was not sure I liked it, by the end I was wishing it would not end. My thanks to the author for making me dream again.
Debbie
Aug 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is brilliantly written, using language in an unforgettable way.
Philosophical, thoughtful, and heartbreaking character development.
A slow read, one to savour, digest, and think about often.
Bryonna
Dec 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
A lovely read .. .intriguing
Mwarke
Oct 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
SUMMARY:

Rumi and the Red Handbag follows the lives of Shaya and Ingrid-Simone, working together one winter at a second-hand clothing shop. Theodora's Consignment Shop becomes a small world where Shaya, an academic who abandoned studying the secrets of women writers, finds in Ingrid-Simone a reason to begin writing again, on scraps of paper and post-its. Fresh, unique and intelligent, Rumi and The Red Handbag is a journey to the Museum of Purses and Handbags in Amsterdam, a journey to find Rumi,
...more
Daniel Kukwa
Feb 08, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: canadian-lit
It has a very ethereal writing style, but that's part of the reason I simply couldn't get into this novel. Something about the style -- the gentle-yet-heightened, slightly askew reality created inside the consignment shop -- constantly throws me off. Reading this book made me feel frustrated, irritated, occasionally fascinated, and once in a while...completely spaced out. I can understand & appreciate what this book is trying to do, and I can admire the way it is trying to do it...but I believe ...more
Dynah Thirst
Sep 08, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
Not my cup of tea. Beautiful writing but too much description, not enough action, and just too deep for me. Soul stuff...ugh.
Pangaea Pangaea
Jul 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This novel is a beautiful and poetic read. Love the prose. Every word is skillfully crafted. Words used like an artist's paint brush to create a landscape of longing, truth and dreams. At times I had to stop and let the words infuse me as little sighs of contentment escaped my throat. Shawna Lemay has a gift for seeing the underbelly of the beast. The softness and vulnerability of our humanness. From the first to the last page I felt touched by her story. ...more
Diane
Apr 13, 2016 rated it it was ok
I was really looking forward to this little book by Edmonton author Shawna Lemay. It was such an intriguing title and the premise is promising too. Two women, one in her early twenties, one in her mid-thirties, meet working in a consignment clothing store and have fascinating discussions about everything but mostly the nature of the "soul". It could have been a much better book if the author had been more concerned about telling a good story versus being profound. ...more
Lesley
Apr 20, 2016 rated it liked it
Many lovely words/sentences in this story. Maybe a bit too many in describing things so minute. At 185 pages I'd hoped that the secret of the narrative would get to the point mighty quickly. It didn't. Not a bad book. I wanted to be captivated and I was at the beginning, then it became a little too drawn out for me. But not giving up on this author yet! ...more
Lise Pomerleau
Oct 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Really really enjoyed this book. Would make an excellent movie. Characters beautifully drawn. Memorable, atmospheric location! Would have liked to have some answers to things introduced so can't give it 5 but very very good! ...more
Tan
Jan 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful exploration of female friendship and a bit of infatuation.
Desi Valentine
May 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Jewel bright, velvet soft and ruthlessly cutting, this book left me breathless.
Candice Putnam
rated it really liked it
Aug 16, 2016
Linda Silva Palleschi
rated it it was amazing
Jan 27, 2018
Nadja
rated it it was amazing
Mar 20, 2017
Angela
rated it it was ok
Mar 07, 2016
Natasha Kureshi
rated it it was ok
Jan 01, 2017
Sherralee
rated it really liked it
Dec 02, 2015
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"A lamp and a flower pot in the center. The flower can always be changing." –Virginia Woolf.

The Flower Can Always Be Changing:

From the bestselling author of Rumi and the Red Handbag comes a new collection of brief essays about the intersection of poetry, painting, photography and beauty. Inspired by the words of Virginia Woolf, Lemay welcomes you into her home, her art and her life as a poet and
...more

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