Glory / Gillian Wigmore
A northern gothic tale about resilience and belonging
In a boom town dominated by a man-eating lake, Renee and Danny Chance start a new life in his grandfather’s cabin. Renee struggles to keep her head above water until she is drawn into the orbit of two beautifully notorious bar-singer cousins, and all three women are called to test the bonds of blood and loyalty. A polyphonic fable riddled with tall tales, Glory explores what it means to be a woman in north-central BC by flooding the shores of the human heart.
Gillian Wigmore is the author of three books of poems: soft geography, Dirt of Ages, and Orient, and a novella, Grayling. Her work has been published in magazines nationally and internationally, shortlisted for prizes, and anthologized. She lives in Prince George, BC.
2018 County Reads selection (Prince Edward County, ON)
“Wigmore has accomplished something energizing in this novel: she has imbued enduring CanLit themes and points of reference with new life, within the context of a story that mines the psyches of modern women and places them against a rugged, storm-tossed backdrop.” — Quill & Quire on Glory
“Gillian Wigmore’s women make hard choices, but she never shies away from the hurt, writing with a one-two punch of empathy and fierceness that lead the reader careening through a roller-coaster wilderness that is both geographic and emotional. With Glory, Wigmore has written a novel shaped by yearning: part punk rock, part old-time country ballad, it is as much a love song to the landscape of Northern British Columbia as it is to the people who live there.” — Elisabeth de Mariaffi
“When faced with a choice between a life as a mother, where all the tomorrows look just like yesterday, Renee chooses her new friend Glory, plunging the reader into a twisting journey of love and survival. Sensitive, taut, and observant, each voice in Wigmore’s complex tapestry brings this small town brilliantly to life.” — Eden Robinson
“You don’t need to know Sheila Watson’s The Double Hook to admire Gillian Wigmore’s novel, Glory, but it’s fascinating to note how thoroughly and distinctively – realism embracing myth – she probes the doubleness that drives her forebear’s book. ‘You can’t catch the glory on a hook and hold onto it,’ says Watson. ‘When you fish for the glory you catch the darkness too.’ Like the novel named for her, Glory Stuart is wracked by extremes of love and hate, bondage and freedom. She is ‘like those fingers of God you get, way out on the lake, when the cloud slits open a bit and the sun shines through,’ but she is also ‘a rock-hard, nasty piece of work, sometimes.’ She is a force of nature in a town dwarfed by nature, perched on the edge of a man-eating lake that haunts the townsfolk ‘like a bogeyman.’ Fort St. James, ‘at the end of the known world’ (northern British Columbia), is ‘quiet and deceiving, all its wounds bound up from sight but flowing deadly and silent from unseen sores.’ Into this ghost-ridden community, stagnant but seething, come Danny and Renee Chance, recently wed and new parents. He has an ancestral bond with the community; she has none. Quickly, she finds herself in crisis. Should she get involved with Glory, the charismatic siren? That way lies danger, but perhaps also a better new beginning than the one she is failing — or that is failing her. As you’d expect from a poet so accomplished as Gillian Wigmore, Glory is beautifully written, but it’s not every poet who knows how to shape a compelling story. Told through several core characters supported by a chorus of community members, each with a clear and distinct voice, Glorydraws heat from a dynamic, primeval wildness in both nature and humanity that can barely be grasped, as it is grasped here, by art.” — Stan Dragland