Books·Canadian

The Western Alienation Merit Badge

The Western Alienation Merit Badge is a novel by Nancy Jo Cullen.

Nancy Jo Cullen

Set in Calgary in 1982, during the recession that arrived on the heels of Canada's National Energy Program, The Western Alienation Merit Badge follows the Murray family as they struggle with grief and find themselves on the brink of financial ruin. After the death of her stepmother, Frances "Frankie" Murray returns to Calgary to help her father, Jimmy, and her sister, Bernadette, pay the mortgage on the family home. When Robyn, a long-lost friend, becomes their house guest old tensions are reignited and Jimmy, Bernadette and Frances find themselves increasingly alienated from one another.

Part family drama, part queer coming-of-age story, The Western Alienation Merit Badge explores the complex dynamics of a small family falling apart. (From Wolsak & Wynn)

Nancy Jo Cullen is a fiction writer and poet living in Toronto. She is also the author of the short story collection Canary and three poetry collections: Science Fiction Saint, untitled child and Pearl.

From the book

After the inland sea dried up and its beaches turned to sandstone and the plant life turned to coal and gas, the ice advanced and ground the stone to dirt, then later retreated from the riparian valleys, coulees and rolling plains where now a girl stepped through the rabbitbush, rough fescue and western wheat grass. She wiped her eyes with the back of her hand, pulled her six-shooter cap gun out of its holster, pointed the pistol in the air and fired. A loud pop and the choking smell of the burning cap, but nothing else. No other creature


From The Western Alienation Merit Badge by Nancy Jo Cullen ©2019. Published by Wolsak & Wynn.

 

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