Every Happy Family
Coteau Books / 15 January 2015

Every Happy Family by Dede Crane Published by Coteau Books Review by Shelley A. Leedahl $19.95 ISBN 978-1-55050-548-1 After finishing Every Happy Family, by Victoria-based Dede Crane, I felt the warmth of being included in a family that truly loves and cares for each other, despite divergent interests and personalities. In short, I felt this family’s embrace. Crane’s novel is a realistic study of family and the complex relationships that develop between generations, between husbands and wives, and between siblings. Readers are privy to the private thoughts, fears and hopes of various members of the Wright family over a period of five dynamic years. The story is told through the perspectives of each of the Wrights. Introspective Jill is an “itinerant linguistics scholar”. Words matter to this woman. Her Sandwich Generation responsibilities involve caring for her increasingly eccentric mother (the older woman spontaneously invites two men and a woman-“we need a fourth for bridge”-to live with her), and parenting three teenaged children: studious Quinn; athletic Beau; and adopted Tibetan daughter, Pema. The familial roster also includes Jill’s husband, Les, and her artsy sister-in-law, Annie. Crane’s taken on a large cast and she’s successfully created completely individual identities for each member….

The Cult of Quick Repair
Coteau Books / 22 July 2009

The Cult of Quick Repair by Dede Crane Published by Coteau Books Review by Shelley A. Leedahl $18.95 ISBN 9-781550-503920 There’s a marvelous short story in Victoria, BC writer Dede Crane’s collection, The Cult of Quick Repair, about the bizarre circumstances that follow after a man’s one night-stand – the “act” is committed in his marriage bed – with a woman met at a staff party. Called “Raising Blood,” the tale begins with the man’s realization that a menstrual blood stain has been left on the $500 “pure Egyptian cotton” sheets his wife’s just purchased, and when he rinses them in hot water instead of cold, the stain, naturally, sets. The wife will be returning within hours from a business trip, and the race to erase the evidence is on. In the delicious romp that follows, the husband attempts to “raise his own blood” to explain the stain. One thing he tries is “a good hard trip up the stairs.” Crane writes: He “knelt down on the cement landing, and began to draw his knee back and forth. Scrape, scrape, scrape, he thought positively …” But this doesn’t work. An electric knife handily does the trick, but lands him in…