A spellbinding and highly original novel that gives a new name to the Prairie Novel by one of the most exciting new literary voices in Canada. In a drought-ridden Saskatchewan of the 1930s, self-possessed, enigmatic Elena Huhtala finds herself living alone, a young Finnish woman in a community of Swedes in the small village of Trevna. Her mother has been dead for many years, and her father, burdened by the hardships of drought, has disappeared, and the eighteen-year-old is an object of pity and charity in her community. But when a stranger shows up at a country dance, Elena needs only one look and one dance before jumping into his Lincoln Roadster, leaving the town and its shocked inhabitants behind. What follows is a trip through the prairie towns, their dusty streets, shabby hotel rooms, surrounded by dry fields that stretch out vastly, waiting for rain. Elena's journey uncovers the individual stories of an unforgettable group of people, all of whom are in one way or another affected by her seductive yet innocent presence. At the centre is Ruth, a girl whose life becomes changed in unexpected ways. She and the girl Elena, distanced and apart, form a strange bond that will come to haunt the decades for them both. Written in luminous prose, threaded through with a sardonic wit and deep wisdoms, A Beauty is at one time lyrical and tough, moving and mysterious, a captivating tale of a woman who, without intending to, touches many lives, and sometimes alters them forever.
Connie Gault is the author of three books of fiction. The most recent, Euphoria, was short-listed for the Commonwealth Prize for Best Book (Canada and the Caribbean) 2010, the Saskatchewan Book of the Year, and the High Plains Fiction Award 2010. It won the Saskatchewan Book Award for Fiction in 2010. She has won many awards for her short fiction and one of her stories was made into the feature length film, Solitude, for which she co-wrote the script with director Robin Schlat. She's also written several radio dramas and four published stage plays, which have been professionally produced across Canada. Her radio play, Sky, was broadcast on BBC World Service, and her stage play, Red Lips, was given a public reading at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago. Connie lives in Regina.