Waiting for Joe
Governor General Finalist 2010
Best Fiction Award, 2010, Saskatchewan Book Awards
On a chilly early morning in late spring, Joe Beaudry and his wife, Laurie, wake up in circumstances that would challenge saints: they are on the lam in a stolen motor home on the edge of a Walmart parking lot. They’ve gone bust, spectacularly: lost the house, the business, and Joe has stuck his ancient father in a nursing home so they could flee their creditors.
Pushed to figure out what to do next, Joe simply takes off hitchhiking…leaving Laurie waiting for Joe, and Joe wondering how he will ever find meaning in a world that has disappointed his every expectation. The road for both of them provides surprising answers.
Sandra Birdsell turns her imagination on the new homeless, the economic orphans of the current recessionary storm and explores the answers offered by the rising tide of fundamentalist Christianity.
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Praise for Waiting for Joe
- The novel is a spiritual journey, and each episode, compelling in itself, leads us to consider the question of faith versus fate; reasons for what happens against the randomness of life… Though close to the world of Flannery O’Connor, it is in its own special universe, the Birdsell landscape of the human heart. — The Winnipeg Free Press
- I laughed, wept and closely identified with the desperate antics of the impoverished characters in Regina writer Sandra Birdsell’s new novel, Waiting for Joe. This is Birdsell’s best novel to date and it will certainly win her more critical praise and a wider audience. Read this brilliant cautionary tale – and wince. — Toronto Star
- In Waiting for Joe, Birdsell peels the layers off Laurie and Joe one by one, revealing both the links between them and the expanding, echoing spaces between them. Sandra Birdsell has written a quiet but deep (and sometimes overwhelming) exploration of life’s disappointments, and its prospects. — The Vancouver Sun
- For readers who read in order to try on another person’s consciousness, there are rewards to be had here. Birdsell inclines us to judge Laurie’s foolishness and Joe’s insensitivity, then plunges us headlong into their sensory worlds, their human vulnerability. … we can’t help but understand them and experience their disillusionment and helplessness as though they were our own. — Globe and Mail