Governor General Literary Awards

Elizabeth and After

Matt Cohen

Elizabeth and After

Two love stories, one past, one present, mirror each other in this highly acclaimed story of ambition, sex, memory and marriage. Set in small-town Ontario - vintage Matt Cohen territory - Elizabeth and After is rich in insights about human foibles and aspirations, and an unforgettable portrait of a place and the people who live there. (From Vintage Canada)

Elizabeth and After won the 1999 Governor General's Literary Award for fiction.


Excerpt:

Asleep, as awake, William McKelvey made a large ungainly lump. But in his dream McKelvey was all air and fire, a sheet-wrapped ghost drifting through West Gull, a small farming centre and tourist town that for almost two centuries had been dinging to the shore of Long Gull Lake, an elongated granite-shored dip on the southern edge of the Precambrian Shield. The sky was black and moonless, the street lamps off. But in the residential area where William McKelvey slept, the tended streets with the expensive homes between the highway and the lake, most of the doors had amber-lit brass coach lamps showing the way for horses that would never come, and through the windows of their glassed-in solariums could be seen the glowing numbers of VCRs and digital docks and sometimes the trembling green and red lights of fax and answering machines.


From Elizabeth and After by Matt Cohen ©1999. Published by Vintage Canada.