About Conversations for Two by Jacqueline Markowitz
“Twenty-five years after I lost my brother I came into possession of a box of his writings in a most incredible way. Over the next ten years, I began to read his poems and notes, imagine his life, getting to know him in a way I could never have thought possible. And, piece-by-piece I began to envision the story that became Conversations for Two. So though the story is based on certain truths, the impressions and interpretations are my invention alone. Of course there is darkness, and great sadness, but it’s expressed through moments of magical thinking, and articulated within the spirit of peace and love that shaped his generation.”
This is a story about family, about love, and about death – the underlying truth of the stigma and aftermath of suicide, and the untold trauma of mental health challenges.
The novel winds its way through the prose of the narrator and the poetry of her brother, conjuring intense moments of memory as it marks and echoes its way through the fragments of his life that were left behind. Their relationship is built between the words; she discovers his life. He has a voice after years and years.
Which were the moments that brought laughter, sorrow, confusion, joy? What did he see and feel, and what demons did he face?
Conversations for Two gets to the heart of how we remember someone. There is memory in all the senses. The hum of the cicada that recalls a moment long ago. The aroma of onions sizzling in the pan on the back coil of the four-burner stove in the old house. The brush of a stranger against your shoulder, bringing back a yearning. All these pieces evoke the history of a life. We paint an impression of those we have lost through the intricate layering of details, and in this hazy reconfiguration lies remembrance.
We travel alongside these characters through the pain that accompanies this journey. We peer through the crack in the window of grief and see the flowers bloom again.
About the author
Jacqueline Markowitz is a writer and creative producer with a background in film, visual art and advertising. She lives in Toronto. Conversations for Two is her first novel.
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Images used on the website are evocative of the time and place in which the novel is set.