Beginning of Was

by Ania Szado
ISBN: 0143017292

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A Review of: Beginning of Was
by W. P. Kinsella

Beginning of Was is a plodding novel about a woman who has enough tragedy thrust upon her to last several lifetimes. If Marta was a sympathetic character this would be a five hankie story, but we really never get to know or like her. She is the somewhat creepy child of cold, indifferent, immigrant parents. Her mother, a seamstress, leaves home when Marta is nine. Consequently, Marta hates sewing because she associates it with her mother. She also blames her bumbling father, a failed dentist who becomes a house painter, for her mother's leaving. Marta moves to Toronto and marries a boy who turns out to be an abusive drunk. Later, driving drunk, he kills himself and their young daughter. Marta has never even told her father she had a daughter. She takes a job with a depressing old woman who is farming out her belongings to ungrateful relatives and friends before she dies. There is a young girl about the age of Marta's daughter when she died, and a priest who turns out NOT to be a pedophile. There is some tension as Marta becomes attached to the young girl. Marta's sexual encounters are smarmy and not believable. Nothing remarkable happens, and Marta, in what strikes me as a very bad move, heads back to her father's home with a batch of communion robes to sew for the church where she works part-time. I believe this is supposed to indicate that Marta has come to terms with her losses and is ready to get on with her life. The problem is that Marta is not very likable, and this is just a sew-sew novel.

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