The Cure for Death by Lightning
First edition (Canadian)
The Cure for Death by Lightning is the debut novel from Canadian author Gail Anderson-Dargatz. It was nominated for the Giller Prize, was awarded the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize, and became a bestseller in Canada (selling over 100,000 copies) and Great Britain (where it won a Betty Trask Award).
Set in an isolated farming community in Shuswap Country, British Columbia at the end of the Second World War it is a coming of age story containing elements of magic realism. Fifteen-year-old Beth Weeks has to contend with her family's struggle against poverty but also her increasingly paranoid and aggressive father whose behaviour leaves the family as outcasts in the community. A number of unusual characters appear in the book, including Filthy Billy a hired hand with tourettes and Nora a sensual half-Native girl whose mother has an extra little finger and a man's voice. The title of the book comes from one of a number of household tips and recipes belonging to her mother which appear as asides throughout the book, whilst the mother herself withdraws from reality and talks with her dead mother; leaving Beth to be sexually molested by her father...
- 'Some first novelists tiptoe. Not Gail Anderson-Dargatz. She makes her debut in full stride, confidently breaking the rules to create a fictional style we might call Pacific Northwest Gothic' - Boston Sunday Globe
- Canadian Literature quarterly criticizes the 'somewhat ponderous plot' but praises the 'acuteness of vision' and 'sharp rendition of the breathless, sensate moment' as the 'magic in the ordinary' is revealed.
- 1996, Canada, Knopf, ISBN 0-394-28157-8, Pub date Apr 1996, Hardback
- 1996, US, Houghton Mifflin, ISBN 0-395-77184-6, Pub date Apr 1996, Hardback
- 1997, Canada, Vintage, ISBN 0-394-28180-2, Paperback
- 1997, UK, Virago, ISBN 1-86049-036-0, Paperback
- 1998, US, Little Brown, ISBN 1-86049-387-4, Paperback
- 2002, US, Anchor, ISBN 0-385-72047-5, Paperback
- www.fantasticfiction.co.uk Retrieved 2013-09-03.