• The Santa Rosa Trilogy

The Santa Rosa Trilogy


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978-1-774390-63-4 | 2022 April | 367 Pages


Wendy McGrath’s Santa Rosa Trilogy, a decade in the making, is finally available in a complete ebook-only collection. Join a young Canadian girl in mid-century Edmonton, Alberta, as she seeks answers to life’s questions and finds beauty in the mundane.

Santa Rosa: What is real when seen through the eyes of a child? When does the harshness of reality transform idyllic memories? The young narrator of Wendy McGrath's new book seeks the answers to these questions as she tries to make sense of the disintegration of her parents' marriage—a process echoed by the slow disintegration of their neighbourhood.

North East: A working class couple living in 1960s Edmonton drift further apart while their young daughter tries to understand subtle shifts she senses taking place under the surface of her family and her neighbourhood. A visit to her grandparents’ farm in the country reveals the abject poverty the couple came to the city to escape, and the internecine marital strife that threatens to be born anew.

Broke City: Budding with creativity that her working-class parents do not understand, Christine questions her parents' fraught relationship, with alcoholism and implicit violence bubbling just under the surface of their marriage. Her insight turns beyond her family to her neighbourhood, nicknamed Packingtown, a community built on meat-packing plants and abattoirs, on death.

For Broke City:

“McGrath's poetic prose shimmers with the all-seeing light of the prairie sun, as she traces the journey of a young girl bravely fighting for her own identity.“
— Laurence Miall, author of Blind Spot

“Like Carson McCullers' A Member of the Wedding, Wendy McGrath evokes the wise, tender, poignant observations of childhood. Compelling and oh so true, Broke City is a ghost story of the heart.“
— Jacqueline Baker, author of The Broken Hours

“With her now-complete portrait of the artist as a young girl, McGrath proves why she’s a writer to pay attention to.” 
— Jade Colbert, Globe and Mail (full review)

“[Broke City], the finale in McGrath’s portrait of the artist as a young girl growing up in working-class Edmonton, the Santa Rosa trilogy captures a young creative mind and a now-lost neighbourhood of the city.” 
— Jade Colbert, Globe and Mail 

“What's clear is McGrath's facility with language, for describing perfectly the sensation when understanding is within one's grasp, close enough to taste on the tongue but somehow not close enough to feel between one's teeth.”
— Yutaka Dirks, Alberta Views

“For a reflective and receptive reader, with a predilection for coming-of-age stories, and stories about memory and inheritance and truth and fear and changing landscapes (emotional and geographic), these novels are in-and-out-and-all-around satisfying.“ 
— Buried in Print Blog (full review)

“Wendy McGrath's Broke City is a story of class and chaos, inheritance and innocence. Exacting. Excellent.”
— Marcie McCauley, Herizons

“… beautiful and poetic and lush with imagery. Not a lot happens but life happens, so I guess you could say a lot happens really.” 
— A Work in Progress blog (full review)

“These three novellas ... are beautiful in every way; to look at, to hold, and to read.” 
— Consumed by Ink (full review)

For North East:

“North East is a poetic exploration of how we search and try to hold on to happiness.”
— Diana Davidson, author of Pilgrimage

“In veracious, wide sweeps, and through sparsely punctuated prose, Wendy McGrath mimics the way that we remember. While within a few square blocks in 1960s Edmonton—a place we come to know intimately through its specificity of detail—we are continually just as unsettled and just as unsure as our young narrator is. North East is both sharp and rhythmic— specific and dreamlike.”
— Jessica Kluthe, author of Rosina the Midwife

”The interplay between form and content is masterful.“
— Rona Altrows, Alberta Views

“If the first entry in this trilogy felt like an elegy for a place, this second book is more an early funeral for a family struggling to remain cogent. This is an elegant, artful piece of work.”
— Andrew Wilmot, All Lit Up

“[e]ven as the memory of Santa Rosa seems at risk of disappearing from the city’s consciousness entirely, McGrath’s fiction provides a bolt of hope. Her trilogy, once complete, may be the most visible and lasting tribute this neighbourhood has left.”
— Michael Hingston, Edmonton Journal

“Wendy McGrath, who is originally from Saskatchewan, has this poetic proficiency for illustrating the seemingly insignificant details of childhood, in the underwhelming idiosyncracies of youth and how they fathom the world around them.”
— Emil Tiedemann, I Heart Edmonton

“... crystalline moments of poetic clarity.”
— Jade Colbert, Globe and Mail

“Wendy McGrath’s novel is a must-read for those of us wanting to recapture the innocence of being a young child and the nostalgia associated with our hometowns.”
— Alexandria Wolfe, The Wanderer Online

“A compelling and solidly entertaining read from beginning to end.”
— Midwest Book Review

“tremulous and dreamlike”
— Julienne Isaacs, Humber Literary Review

For Santa Rosa:

"Beautifully wrought! In Santa Rosa, Wendy McGrath takes us into the province of childhood, recreating the essence of a time and place where our eyes are opened to the colours of the world, her writing rich with sensory images and closely observed detail. Hers is a songlike gift, and Santa Rosa is a novel of poetic grace."
— Lynda Monahan, author of What My Body Knows

"Wendy McGrath captures the fragmented dynamics of family from a child's point of view. Her prose evokes a lyrical menace and a sense of period that is simultaneously past and vividly present."
— Alice Major, author of Memory's Daughter

For The Santa Rosa Trilogy:

“These three novellas, that make up The Santa Rosa Trilogy, are beautiful in every way; to look at, to hold, and to read. I found myself mesmerized by the thoughts and observations of the little girl who narrates this story; the things she notices and the way she interprets them.”
— Naomi MacKinnon, The Miramichi Reader (full review)