Friday, September 14, 2012

Friday Freebie: Vandal Love and Cures for Hunger by Deni Y. Bechard

Congratulations to Beverly Sizemore, winner of last week's Friday Freebie: Cascade by Maryanne O'Hara.

This week's book giveaway is a double-header from author Deni Y. Bechard.  Milkweed Editions published two of his books earlier this year and it's my pleasure to be able to offer a copy of both Vandal Love and Cures for Hunger to one lucky reader.

Here's the publisher's blurb for Vandal Love which has been compared to the work of a wide range of writers including Gabriel Garcia Marquez, William Faulkner, E. L. Doctorow and Annie Proulx:
An astonishing novel of epic ambition, Vandal Love—winner of the prestigious Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for best first book in 2007—follows generations of a unique French-Canadian family across North America and through the twentieth century. A family curse—a genetic trick resulting from centuries of hardship—causes the Hervé children to be born either giants or runts. Book One follows the giants’ line, exploring Jude Hervé’s career as a boxer in Georgia and Louisiana in the 1960s, his escape from that brutal life alone with his baby daughter Isa, and her eventual decision to enter into a strange, chaste marriage with a much older man. Book Two traces a different kind of life entirely, as the runts of the family discover that their power lies in a kind of unifying love. François seeks the identity of his missing father for years, while his own son, Harvey, flees from modern society into spiritual quests. But none of the Hervés can abandon their longing for a place where they might find others like themselves.
Calgary Herald had this to say about the book: “Although Vandal Love is a first novel, it reads as smoothly as if Béchard had a library to his name--mature, lyrical, tactile and at times simple, cruel and sweet.  No doubt, the giant steps this young writer has taken will set him far ahead on his literary path.”

Shifting gears, we turn to Bechard's memoir, Cures for Hunger (and how about that cover, eh?).  Here's the jacket copy:
As a child, Deni Béchard has no idea his family is unusual. His mother is from Pittsburgh and there is a vague sense that his father is from Quebec, but when Deni is assigned to complete a family tree in school, he begins to wonder why he doesn’t know more about his father’s side of the family. Who is André Béchard, and why do the police seem so interested in him?  Soon after Deni’s mother leaves his father and decamps with her three children to Virginia, Deni learns that André was once a bank robber, a revelation that sets his imagination on fire. Boyish rebelliousness soon gives way to fantasies of a life of crime. At once attracted and repelled, Deni can’t escape the sense that his father’s life holds the key to understanding himself, and to making sense of his own passions and longings. Only when he goes off to college does Deni begin to unravel the story of his father’s life, eventually returning with it to the Quebecois family that André had fled long ago.
Claire Bidwell Smith, author of The Rules of Inheritance, praised the book by saying, “This powerful and haunting memoir is a must-read for anyone who has ever struggled to uncover their identity within the shadow of a parent.  Written in exquisitely sharp prose, Béchard combs through his attempt to understand his father's mysterious existence with inspiring precision.  This book is huge and achingly true.”

If you'd like a chance at winning a copy of both Vandal Love and Cures for Hunger, all you have to do is email your name and mailing address to

Put FRIDAY FREEBIE in the e-mail subject line.  One entry per person, please.  Despite its name, the Friday Freebie runs all week long and remains open to entries until midnight on Sept. 20at which time I'll draw the winning name.  I'll announce the lucky reader on Sept. 21.  If you'd like to join the mailing list for the once-a-week Quivering Pen newsletter, simply add the words "Sign me up for the newsletter" in the body of your email.  Your email address and other personal information will never be sold or given to a third party (except in those instances where the publisher requires a mailing address for sending Friday Freebie winners copies of the book).

Want to double your odds of winning?  Get an extra entry in the contest by posting a link to this webpage on your blog, your Facebook wall or by tweeting it on Twitter.  Once you've done any of those things, send me an additional e-mail saying "I've shared" and I'll put your name in the hat twice.

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