The Causes, fiction by Cathy Stonehouse (Pedlar Press, 2019)
Publication date 25 August 2019
Cathy Stonehouse writes fiction, poetry and nonfiction, and has published widely in each of these genres. Originally from the UK, she studied English at Oxford University, where she became interested in experimental traditions in women’s poetry and fiction. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from UBC, and a Certificate in Expressive Arts Therapy from Langara College. Her publications include the poetry collections The Words I Know (Press Gang) and grace shiver (Inanna Publications), and the short fiction collection Something about the Animal (Biblioasis).
This complex and unsettling debut novel follows the young Argentine conscript José Ramirez from his torture on the bleak plains of the Falklands, back into his childhood in pre-revolution Argentina, and forward across continents as he grapples with the loss of his father and his country as he knew it. Carlos Ramirez is taken by force from his apartment, leaving behind only a pair of broken glasses. His son, José, is left with unanswerable questions that become threatening after he is sent to the Malvinas to fight an impossible war. Mysterious, gripping, poetic and magic-realist, The Causes is a love story for a threatened planet, set in Argentina, Spain, the UK, and the South Atlantic.
Praise for Cathy Stonehouse’s THE CAUSES (Pedlar 2019):
“I finished this book a few days ago and have been carrying around its powerful story in my heart and head ever since. The author has captured something tremendous here that will resonate with anyone who wants to put on another’s skin and experience their struggles and triumphs close-up.
While I was familiar with the Falklands/Malvinas conflict, I had never read anything like this narrator’s perspective. He is a young Argentinian man, and the author viscerally recreates his wartime experiences, along with his ensuing struggle after returning to a country that blames (and shames) its soldiers for losing.
Internal and external demons combine to drive him through a series of challenges that the author artfully blends with hints of magic realism. What is real? Who’s to say? Along the way the story illuminates a conflict that few people talk about, along with the toll it took on those involved.
The prose is stunning and the story is heartbreaking and powerful. This is a must-read for anyone interested in British or South American history, wartime experiences, PTSD, along with anyone who loves deep and thought-provoking stories told in the finest literary prose. —Shannon Cowan