The End, The New Beginning
- Jo-Anne B. Foster
This self-published first novel by Calgary writer Jo-Anne B. Foster is an imaginative and somewhat sprawling tale of optimism and industry. In it, the protagonist (who is later renamed Angel by her new-found tribe) is saved from certain death following the destruction of the entire nation, by a friend who whisks her away at the penultimate moment to an undersea bomb shelter. It is during the three years that the two spend in this ocean floor sanctuary that Angel learns the life skills needed to rebuild a life for herself in a new country, among new compatriots.
Most of the story unfolds after the pair re-emerge from the ocean, when Angel is taken in by a large family of wealthy and multi-talented entrepreneurs. It is under their care that she builds friendships, a hotel and a reputation as a sharp shooter with the Seals Special Forces tactical team.
As she also does in her second novel One Thousand, Foster effortlessly creates a world in The End, The New Beginning where she allows her fertile imagination to play with things and ideas that obviously intrigue her. She has a knack for creating feisty women with a penchant for 1940's sensibilities, ballgowns and Blue Martinis.
Foster's growth as a writer is evident in the greater sophistication and tighter writing that she displays by her second novel. However, despite its looser structure and focus, The End, the New Beginning tells a ripping good tale. Given Foster's relative inexperience as a writer, this is no small feat.
The End, the New Beginning is a brave first foray into fiction by a writer who has worlds yet to reveal.
I should mention that Jo-Anne Foster is also a talented visual artist, who will be having her first art show on Saturday November 22, 1-4pm, at East Village's Golden Age Club. If you are in the Calgary area and want to check out some of the sassy female faces that Foster paints (and also prints onto tee shirts and buttons) do stop by.