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Uppal, Priscila 1974-

UPPAL, Priscila 1974-

PERSONAL:

Born October 30, 1974, in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

ADDRESSES:

Office—Div. of Humanities, York University, 4700 Keele St., Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3, Canada. E-mail—[email protected].

CAREER:

Poet, writer, educator. York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, assistant professor of English.

WRITINGS:

How to Draw Blood from a Stone (poems), Exile Editions (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1998.

Confessions of a Fertility Expert (poems), Exile Editions (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1999.

Pretending to Die (poems), Exile Editions (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2001.

The Divine Comedy of Salvation (novel), Doubleday Canada (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2002.

Live Coverage (poems), Exile Editions (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2003.

SIDELIGHTS:

Priscila Uppal's second collection of poetry, Confessions of a Fertility Expert, was reviewed by World Literature Today contributor Branko Gorjup, who called Uppal "one of the most engaging young poets writing in English in Canada today." "Like her earlier work," continued Gorjup, "Uppal's present offering continues to dissect unflinchingly what are generally considered our habitual environments. Her clear, direct, image-driven diction cuts like a laser through the obscuring shadows that enclose our fugitive memories, subjecting them to our gaze, forcing re-viewing and re-vision. The result is that we experience parts of our pasts all over again, reliving them anew, transforming them into the present moment."

The Divine Economy of Salvation is Uppal's debut novel, centered around Angela, who lives in a small Ottawa convent. Angela's decision to become a nun was primarily driven by guilt, and when she receives an item from the past in the mail, the incident surrounding it is brought back to her.

Angela had attended the convent's boarding school where she was a member of a clique called The Sisterhood, a group that inflicted horrible cruelty on one of its initiates, whose death was never resolved. Now Angela may be the victim of blackmail, even as she is experiencing difficulties with her own sister and helping an unwed mother who is being cared for at the convent. Library Journal's Eleanor J. Bader wrote that The Divine Economy of Salvation presents "a wise, resonant, and unsettling look at female violence and the nature of family, faith, friendship, and repentance."

While a reviewer for Publishers Weekly called the novel "unmemorable" and took issue with Uppal's resolution of the story, Clara Thomas noted in a Books in Canada assessment that "underlying the entire work with a steadily sounding beat is a poignant sense of loss: loss of a mother, of a family, of an individuality, of any supportive sense of a Divine Presence or of the possibility of redemption or mercy. The ending's tentative upswing is exactly right and fitting."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, August, 2002, Gillian Engberg, review of The Divine Economy of Salvation, p. 1926.

Books in Canada, May, 2002, Clara Thomas, review of The Divine Economy of Salvation.

Kirkus Reviews, July 1, 2002, review of The Divine Economy of Salvation, p. 916.

Library Journal, July, 2002, Eleanor J. Bader, review of The Divine Economy of Salvation, p. 124.

Publishers Weekly, September 30, 2002, review of The Divine Economy of Salvation, p. 47.

World Literature Today, winter, 2001, Branko Gorjup, review of Confessions of a Fertility Expert, p. 122.*

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