A 'beautifully told' family drama

'Annabel' by Kathleen Winter
'Annabel' by Kathleen Winter
Courtesy of publisher

Every week, The Thread checks in with booksellers around the country about their favorite books of the moment. This week, we spoke to Gwen Danfelt from Drury Lane Books in Grand Marais, Minn.

Gwen Danfelt read “Annabel” by Kathleen Winter for the book club at her shop.

“Everyone learned something,” she said of the conversations it sparked. “We talked a lot about how we raised our own children.”


The book takes place in a remote region of rural Labrador, in Canada. It follows a man, a woman and their child, who is born intersex, with some male genitalia and some female genitalia.


“This is a big societal conversation now in 2019,” Danfelt said. “But in rural, remote Labrador in the 1960s, there was no conversation at all.”


“Through the novel, you get the thoughts of both the father and the mother and the child … They had to pick a gender, that was how it was done back then with the medical establishment,” Danfelt said. The story follows the repercussions of that decision, and it’s “beautifully told.”


“So, there’s that whole really thought-provoking piece, and the other beautiful thing is that this author, Kathleen Winter, clearly knows the land of Labrador and the history of it… The land and the animals are beautifully described, and it made me want to go there and it made me want to read more nature writing by her.”

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