With her remarkable eye for detail, Braun keenly observes the subtle dynamics and complexities of family relationships.
In "Assassins" a teenage girl copes with her three quarrelsome aunts and confronts the serious illness of her uncle as she learns that the world around her is always changing. In "Goldie" a listless young married woman fixates on the woman, and her property, to spark her own life. "In The Half-Town Folly", an artless big city man accompanies his ne'er-do-well brother and a shifty ex-con companion as they attempt the perfect crime when what he really dreams about is his own camper and a cross-country escape. The title story reveals how a long-married couple achieve an epiphany, and a renewal, at a bus stop in Victoria.
With The Penance Drummer, Lois Braun begins in rural Manitoba and opens up a whole world.
I relished this collection. I dove into it and didn't want to come up for air. Braun's style is addictive. She might be the Alice Munro of Manitoba.
Michelle Berry, The Globe and Mail
The stories in The Penance Drummer start off as mythical prairie stories, then quickly startle the reader into a present as current as today's newspaper. Therange of characters, from widows to petty thieves, and Braun's insight into the sub-surface longings that motivate their actions make for compelling reading that refuses the reader the comfort of cliches. Rural life in Braun's stories is neither sleepy nor simple.
Armin Wiebe, author of Tatsea.
Turnstone Press acknowledges the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Manitoba Arts Council, the Government of Canada, and the Province of Manitoba through Manitoba Sport, Culture and Heritage.