Book Talks: Under the Visible Life and The Shrunken Head

HL under the visibleUnder the Visible Life
by Kim Echlin

Under The Visible Life by Kim Echlin is the story of two women and their lifelong relationships with music and with each other. Mahsa was born in Pakistan to an American father and an Afghan mother. Katherine is the product of her Canadian mother’s affair with a Chinese migrant worker. Echlin paints difficult early lives for both girls in the 1940s—Mahsa’s parents are murdered, and Katherine’s mother is put in prison for immorality—but both girls find comfort in the piano, teaching themselves to play as children. Their worlds get closer when Mahsa is sent to Canada to attend university, and these two characters who share so much finally cross paths in New York City. Echlin states that the idea for this book started when she discovered the Female Refuges Act, a piece of legislation in Ontario that was passed in 1897 and repealed in 1964. Under this act women could be charged with being “incorrigible.” Incorrigibility included things like not coming home on time, going into a tavern without a man, and unmarried intimacy. She says it was startling to understand the degree of legislative control our Canadian laws have had over women. Under The Visible Life is one of ten titles nominated for this year’s Evergreen™ Award and can be requested through the Haliburton County Public Library.

curiosity house shrunken headCuriosity House: The Shrunken Head
by Lauren Oliver and H.C. Chester

What you will NOT find in the book The Shrunken Head – the first in the Curiosity House series:

  1. An accountant named Seymour
  2. A never-ending line at the post office
  3. Brussel sprouts (shudder)
  4. A lecture on finishing all your homework on time
  5. A sweet, gooey story for nice little girls and boys

What you will find in this middle grade novel by Lauren Oliver with notorious relics collector H.C. Chester:

  1. A rather attractive bearded lady
  2. Several scandalous murders
  3. A deliciously disgusting Amazonian shrunken head
  4. Four extraordinary children with equally extraordinary abilities
  5. A quite loquacious talking bird

Orphans Phillipa, Sam, and Thomas have happily grown up in Dumfrey’s Dime Museum of Freaks, Oddities, and Wonders when a fourth child, Max, joins their ranks. All possessed of extraordinary talents, they are determined to find the museum’s Amazonian shrunken head when it is stolen. But their search leads them to a series of murders, and an explosive secret about their pasts.

Curiosity House: The Shrunken Head by Lauren Oliver with H.C. Chester is available, along with its sequel The Screaming Statue, are available to reserve at the Haliburton County Public Library.

*Originally aired on 100.9 CANOE FM, May 1st – 14th, 2016.

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