First Prairie Grass Fire provides an honest look at growing up in Calgary and experiencing Hell from all sides. Difference is publicly ridiculed and at home considered sinful, there is no safe place but in song. Rae Spoon’s first work of fiction is more than just another book about being lesbian and trans in a heteronormative culture where the concept of transphobia is not even on the radar. Layers of childhood build up throughout the manuscript via short yet powerful stories. Without being specific to their own life, Spoon tries to write about what they know best. The result is an Earth shaking collision of evangelical Christianity, mental illness, abuse, a desire to belong, a fear of being recognized as not being like the others girls, and that dream to play music. Spoon’s plain language and subtle style allows every word to count making the emotion driving through these pages palpable. Although it may be short, and the directness of the writing leaves a lot to the imagination, First Prairie Grass Fire creates a collage from bits of a childhood weaving them together and leaving a beautiful and powerful tapestry of pain, alienation, and triumph. When reaching the end of the book, the raw power of Spoon’s story can be fully understood with the context of their life. Rae Spoon will be doing a book reading at McNally Robinson, 1120 Grant Ave., on October 20th. (Arsenal Pulp Press, arsenalpulp.com) Jesse Blackman
Winnipeg's Music Blog for News, Concerts, Interviews, Art and Entertainment.