You’re probably thinking I’m going to love Once Removed because it’s written by my brilliant husband. Well, you’re wrong. I do not love Once Removed because it’s written by my brilliant husband. I love Once Removed because it’s a genuinely wonderful novel.
I’m sure no one will take the author’s wife seriously, but nevertheless, here’s what I have to say.
I read many of the original drafts, but I had not yet read the final published version until we received it from the publisher. It’s been amazing to sit with the actual book in my hands!
I found it devastating and heartwarming and I laughed out loud, too. The book had me stopping to process the question of what is worth preserving. What do we lose when we try to destroy our own past? Is it really wise to try to make your town just like everyone else’s?
The part in the middle, the part about the Hiebert housebarn… there’s hilarity and haunting beauty, somehow, mingled together… that part just really got me. I stopped in the midst of reading it, suddenly feeling like Andrew is truly of a new generation of Mennonite writers. I mean, previous generations railed against all things Mennonite at the time… and that work needed to be done. I’m sure we’ve benefited from that cultural shift. However, what have we lost in the process? What do we have left to remind us of what our people once were, or where we had come from? Have we lost our history and maybe even our identity?
I loved spending the last few evenings with these characters — Timothy, Katie, Brenda from Loans, Randall, Old Stuff Timothy, Mrs. Friesen — and I have only one complaint: that there isn’t a sequel.
Here’s Andrew’s video, inviting you to the book launch tonight! (It’s online, so you don’t need to leave your house!)
Join Daily Bonnet author Andrew Unger at his virtual McNally Robinson book launch for Once Removed (2020, Turnstone Press) on Thursday, September 17 at 7:OO pm central time. With special guest Nathan Dueck. The launch will take place via Zoom.
Zoom registration is quick, easy, and free: Andrew’s Zoom book launch.
Purchase Once Removed: Once Removed