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Over Our Heads is a novel that weaves together the histories of two very different half-sisters who return home to deal with the aftermath that occurs when the grandmother who raised them dies. Emma, a punk band singer and poet turned pet psychic, and Rachel, an actuary with an interest in astronomy, both carry the remnants of childhoods overshadowed by issues of bullying, abandonment, alienation and fear. In the raw terrain of profound loss, the two sisters struggle through the stages of grief – each in their own way. The past merges with the present, as through the process of emptying the family home, each woman is taken back to their childhoods in 1970s Toronto and Vancouver, where they navigated a social climate rife with racism, homophobia and marginalization of the mentally ill and cognitively disabled. Over Our Heads is a story about kindness, compassion – and the lack of it, on both a societal and individual level. It’s about growing up wounded, and the generational legacy of suffering such wounds can create. It unearths the painful family dynamics that can arise from our perception of memory, and how these dynamics colour both who we are, and who we believe others to be. It’s a story of acceptance, forgiveness, redemption, and the beauty that can be found in the imperfection inherent in being human.
"'Hindsight. The only way to see clearly.' This proverb illuminates the genesis of the life lessons that poet Andrea Thompson unfolds in her page-turner — and new-leaf-turning —debut novel. Over Our Heads is the poignant yet sprightly story of a family troubled by abandonment, accident, addiction, adoption, and death. Centreing on the fraught relationship between Rachel — a cool-and-calculating actuary — and her half-sister, Emma, a poet songstress gifted with ESP, the novel moves between the "now" of funeral arrangements and the girlhood "then" of Etch-A-Sketch and Easy-Bake Oven, Wonder Woman and Harry Belafonte. Thompson orchestrates a wondrous collage of Ziggy Stardust and the Dalai Lama, urban parks and Aboriginal medicines, home renos and black holes, all to reveal that divisions of gender, class, race, and ethnicity are, truly, only skin-deep. Thompson writes with a poet's careful eye and a novelist's open heart."
- George Elliott Clarke, Poet Laureate of Toronto (2012-15)
"A rare novel, by turns poetic, psychic, and down-to-earth, always wise and engaging, Over Our Heads affirms "the holiness of the heart's affections" and will remain long in the reader's memory."
- Elizabeth Greene, author of Moving and Understories
"How to describe this book? You know sometimes you read a book and you feel as if it was written just for you? That the messages and characters were written as such, just for you? A bespoke book! Ridiculous as it may sound, Over Our Heads feels like my bespoke book and I urge you to try it, it might be yours too! Two very different sisters, an unusual family, stardust versus accounting, astrology versus astronomy, rationalism versus mysticism... I was enchanted and engaged from the very first page to the last."
- Lisa de Nikolits, author of The Witchdoctor's Bones
Mixed-Race Women Speak Out
Edited by Adebe De Rango-Adem and Andrea Thompson
This anthology of poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, spoken word texts, as well as black and white artwork and photography, explores the question of how mixed-race women in North America identify in the twenty-first century. Contributions engage, document, and/or explore the experiences of being mixed-race, by placing interraciality as the center, rather than periphery, of analysis. The anthology also serves as a place to learn about the social experiences, attitudes, and feelings of others, and what racial identity has come to mean today.
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