Richler, Nancy 1957-
RICHLER, Nancy 1957-
Born 1957, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada; daughter of Meyer and Dianne Richler; partner of Vicki Trerise. Ethnicity: "Jewish." Education: Brandeis University, B.A. (history), 1979; Simmons College, M.S.W., 1981. Religion: Jewish.
Novelist and author of short fiction.
Writers Union of Canada.
Arthur Ellis Award for Best First Crime Novel shortlist, 1996, for Throwaway Angels; third prize, Prairie Fire Long Short Fiction Contest, 1999; Canadian Jewish Book Award for fiction, 2003, for Your Mouth Is Lovely.
Throwaway Angels, Press Gang (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), 1996.
Your Mouth Is Lovely, Ecco Press (New York, NY), 2002.
Contributor to literary journals. Your Mouth Is Lovely has been translated into six languages.
Canadian fiction writer Nancy Richler's second novel, Your Mouth Is Lovely, takes place in Siberia shortly after the Russian Revolution of 1905.
In the novel, the year is 1911, and twenty-three-year-old Russian Jew Miriam is incarcerated for life in a prison camp. As an escape from the confines where she has been for the past five years, she recalls her childhood in a small village as her country stood on the brink of the portentous change that would force an unwieldy Russia into the twentieth century. Unwanted by her parents—her mother committed suicide shortly after Miriam's birth—and disfigured as a child, Miriam has lived on the fringes of her impoverished, emotionally distant family, but has also been deeply influenced by the unconventional independence of her stepmother Tsila. Now she reflects not only on her distant past but also on the events that lead her to join Kiev's growing socialist movement. This decision ultimately results in Miriam's arrest as a revolutionary and condemns her to a bleak future as a political prisoner. Forced to give up her infant daughter Hayya and send the girl to live with an aunt in Canada, Miriam now writes down her reflections in the form of a letter to the child she will never know, and questions the meaning of her life.
A Publishers Weekly reviewer praised Your Mouth Is Lovely as "haunting," and Richler's characters as "unforgettable" and "deeply nuanced." In Booklist, contributor Kathleen Hughes dubbed it a "stunning novel that readers won't be able to put down." Recognizing the "admirable research" done by the author, a Kirkus Reviews critic commended in particular the "quietly assured detail" used to describe Miriam's childhood in Bellarus. Calling Your Mouth Is Lovely a "refreshing departure from most novels about revolution," Maclean's contributor Sue Ferguson concluded that in Richler's mix of historic fact and fiction "both story and texture leave a lasting impression." "Such is the power of her craft," Library Journal reviewer Edward Cone noted of Richler, "that Miriam's story transcends the mundane" and stands on a par with the revolution-era novels of Fyodor Dostoevsky.
Richler's first full-length novel, Throwaway Angels, was penned as a quasi-mystery. Her protagonist, a lesbian laundromat clerk in her thirties named Tova, sees the troubled lives of runaways from a safe distance, but is forced to leave the security of her quiet life after her friend Gina disappears. In trying to track down Gina, Tova is forced to truly understand her friend and, in the process, question her own life choices. In addition to working on novel-length works, Richler has penned a number of short stories that have appeared in literary magazines in both the United States and Canada.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, November 1, 2002, Kathleen Hughes, review of Your Mouth Is Lovely, p. 474.
Books in Canada, November, 1996, Eva Tihanyi, review of Throwaway Angels, p. 36.
Boston Globe, December 26, 2002, Judith Maas, review of Your Mouth Is Lovely.
Forward, January 31, 2003, Janet Burstein, review of Your Mouth Is Lovely.
Globe and Mail (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), October 5, 2002, Mark Frutkin, review of Your Mouth Is Lovely.
Jerusalem Report, February 24, 2003, Leah Eichler, review of Your Mouth Is Lovely.
Kirkus Reviews, September 15, 2002, review of Your Mouth Is Lovely, p. 1341.
Lambda Book Report, February, 1997, Judith Stelboum, review of Throwaway Angels, p. 23.
Library Journal, November 1, 1996, Rex E. Klett, review of Throwaway Angels, p. 111; October 15, 2002, Edward Cone, review of Your Mouth Is Lovely, p. 95.
Literary Review of Canada, December, 2002, Robin Roger, review of Your Mouth Is Lovely.
Los Angeles Times, December 13, 2002, Mark Rozzo, review of Your Mouth Is Lovely.
Maclean's, December 2, 2002, Sue Ferguson, review of Your Mouth Is Lovely, p. 64.
Montreal Gazette, September 21, 2002, Donna Bailey Nurse, review of Your Mouth Is Lovely.
National Post (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), October 12, 2002, Robin Roger, review of Your Mouth Is Lovely.
New Yorker, December 2, 2002, review of Your Mouth Is Lovely.
Publishers Weekly, October 7, 2002, review of Your Mouth Is Lovely, p. 50.
Quill & Quire, October, 1996, Maureen Phillips, review of Throwaway Angels, p. 31.
Vancouver Sun, September 21, 2003, Sara Dowse, review of Your Mouth Is Lovely.
Winnipeg Free Press, September 29, 2002, Sharon Chisvin, review of Your Mouth Is Lovely.