A father comes out to his daughter as a woman. Or at least, he was once a woman. It's complicated. Funny. Painful. Eventually joyful. Meanwhile the daughter, who was adopted, has her own identity issues. At the Aboriginal addictions treatment centre where she works, everyone assumes she is Indigenous. But is she? How can she find out? Cardinal Divide explores the hunger for certainty and the mutability of identity, whether of gender, race or sexuality. Authenticity isn't simple. Acting as somebody else is simultaneously a way to deceive and to explore the world. Characters who pass as male, as white, as straight, straddle the cardinal divides. And then, sometimes, passing is becoming.
Guernica Editions (Essential Prose Series)
400 pages |
By fusing the stories of Dreamcatcher Lodge and Ben’s story of arrival and change, the text breathes new life into narratives of settler/Indigenous encounters and histories. Ben’s story and sense of identity as non-binary is understood as Two-Spirit, which is a reframing of queerness through Indigenous epistemologies. The Cardinal Divide in the foothills of the Rockies serves as an evocative metaphor for the co-mingling of stories and histories.
Canadian Literature: A Quarterly Criticism and Review
- Nina Newington, David Kingston Yeh, and J Andrew Wainwright discuss writing queer identities and communities
- Nina Newington's Cardinal Divide book launch filmed during a North Mountain Happening
- Nina Newington on Canada, Uncertainty, and Her Newest Book
- Author Interview with Nina Newington on All About Books
- Book signing on a clearcut or two
- Audio Excerpt
- Nina's website
About the author
Nina Newington’s first novel, Where Bones Dance, won the Writers’ Guild of Alberta Georges Bugnet Award in 2008. A former Kennedy scholar with an MA from Cambridge, she makes her living designing gardens and building things. English by birth, she and her American wife immigrated to Canada in 2006. They raise sheep on unceded Mi’kmaw territory near the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia.