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Short Stories by Keith Henderson
The Pagan Nuptials of Julia
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The Pagan Nuptials of Julia and other stories
The Pagan Nuptials of Julia chronicles the lives of ordinary English-speaking Quebeckers who “did not go the other way” down the 401, a neglected Canadian minority that saw its treasured world sacrificed by statist deceit and disowned with “stricken, evasive looks” even by its own kind.
With a vivid, contrarian insight, Keith Henderson shows us that not all change is even-handed or mending, and that when it embodies “refinement” and “necessary humanity,” the Past merits passionate preservation.
Contemplating these at times gothic, always superbly crafted tales, alert readers will find themselves querying their fashionable complacencies while they ponder a vision conservative in the very best of senses — one that revives the classical faith in human bonds and meaning, and prompts us to remember that we are “born into the arms of love.”
Reminiscent of the works of Hawthorne, Mansfield, Mann, and Sinclair Ross, Keith Henderson’s The Pagan Nuptials of Julia presents the brilliant, interrogative creations of one of Canada’s finest “journalists of the soul.”
A remarkably erudite collection that displays an impressive versatility.
The Pagan Nuptials of Julia takes us from Montreal to rural Italy, where Julia was born.... It’s a story that says something profound about the human condition. It feeds the soul....
The Globe and Mail
This book is an interesting well written collection of stories told from a variety of viewpoints — male, female, young, old, married, single, divorced.
The Montreal Review of Books
“The story though that sticks with me the most is ‘The Garden of Earthly Delights,’ perhaps because this is also my favorite painting by Hieronymus Bosch. How Henderson manages to fashion an allegory about the protagonist’s tainted raspberry patch leading to his subsequent illness and the interpretation of the Bosch painting is a marvel to behold. He writes about a scene in the painting of a man surrounded by the ‘permutation of human evil’ and another figure glancing at the world ‘with wistful despair at the pleasure of the tavern he has just forsworn: a drunken lout pissing against a wall, a tattered roof, a Dutch whore beckoning from a shutter-buckled window….Perhaps it was the sense of plague that gave so skeletal a quality to the life of those times just as the sense of holocaust has to our own.’ Juxtaposed with this is his own disease from eating the tainted berries that he states is of a ‘far less spiritual nature.’ Again, an encapsulated summary of what has happened to our notion of suffering humanity.
It is at this point that I want to conclude with why such writing matters. Henderson’s vision in these stories reflects the loss of value in our post-modern world, a world of quotidian, material concerns and empty longings. Gone are the grand themes of art from our lives, he suggests, and we are much the poorer for this.
Besides Henderson being a master of style, it is because of such insights and affirmation that this is good writing –one that makes no apologies and is unremitting in its endorsement of the human spirit.”
Zsolt Alapi, Montreal Rampage, December 2018
As leader of Quebec’s Equality Party from 1993 to 2003, Keith Henderson was hardly shy about expressing his views on the rights of English-speaking Quebecers. In The Pagan Nuptials of Julia Henderson shrewdly weaves his political insights into nine fictional tales of Anglos who remained in Quebec to deal with an increasingly difficult situation.
Concordia University Magazine, December 2005
Author Keith Henderson
Keith Henderson has published three novels, (The Restoration, DC Books 1994, The Beekeeper, DC Books 1990 and The Roof Walkers, DC Books 2013), as well as a collection of political essays from when he was Quebec columnist for the Financial Post (Staying Canadian, DC Books, 1997). He led a small provincial political party in Quebec during the separatist referendum of 1995 and championed English language rights and the “poison pill” strategy of partitioning Quebec if ever Quebec partitioned Canada, positions covered in full length articles in the Los Angeles and New York Times as well as on CBS 60 Minutes.
The Pagan Nuptials of Julia, Keith Henderson, 116 pp., 5.5 x 8.5, Short Stories, July 2005,
ISBN: 978-0-919688-98-8 (paper). . .$17.95
ISBN: 978-0-919688-99-5 (Bound) . . . $32.95
* This book is “perfect bound” with an add-on hard cover, no dust jacket.
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The Pagan Nuptials of Julia won a gold medal for best fiction from Eastern Canada in the 2006 US Independent Publishers Book Awards.