Arleen Paré (Victoria)
“One of my favourite books is The True Story of Ida Johnson, a slim volume of exemplary Canadian fiction written by Alberta writer Sharon Riis and published in 1976. I read it years ago, twice.
“I love the novel for its sharp exquisite prose and for its commitment to brevity, a rare but beautiful thing in narrative fiction, and for its story about two women, Ida and Lucy (or Luke), who may or may not be/become lovers. The narration, the characterizations are immediately compelling.
“The story opens in a courtroom with Ida answering questions concerning her whereabouts on the night her husband and children were killed in a fire. She answers that she had just stepped out for a smoke. Or . . . ? Mystery upon mystery.”
Arleen Paré is the author of a novel, Leaving Now, and prize-winning poetry volumes, including Paper Trail and Lake of Two Mountains, the winner of the 2014 Governor General’s Literary Award. Face in the Funeral Car, poems, is forthcoming from Caitlin Press in Fall 2015.