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Hoda is a prostitute, but that is not the most important fact about her. Earthy, bawdy, vulnerable, and big-hearted, she is the daughter of an impoverished Jewish couple who emigrated from Russia to Canada to escape persecution. Growing up in a ghetto of Winnipeg, she experiences cruelty and bigotry early and fights back with humor and anger, which is something to behold as her young body takes on gargantuan proportions. In the neighborhood, she is considered a crackpot and worse. In truth, she is a cracked pot, a flawed human being, but her quest for love, which brings hope out of humiliation, is one of the most memorable in modern fiction. Crackpot, set in the period between two world wars, is Adele Wiseman's comic vision, for all its darkness. Somewhat satirically, the novel touches on puritanical hypocrisy and the inhumanity of institutions, notably the schools and the welfare system. Hoda, caught in a web of relationships beginning with her blind father and humpbacked mother, is its great heartbeat. Adele Wiseman won the Canadian Governor General's Award for her first novel, The Sacrifice.But Seraphina was skinny. ... and grabbed her all over with the big hands they all had except for the pale, thin one with the long fingers that she put her own hands on ... What if Stanley were to follow her and put his hands on her that way?

Author:Adele Wiseman
Publisher:U of Nebraska Press - 1993


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