A Crack in the Wall
by Betty Jane Hegerat
A Crack in the Wall takes the reader on a voyeuristic walk down suburban streets, a glimpse into open windows at people yearning for what was, and making their reluctant peace with what is, and what will be.
I’ve always enjoyed stories about ‘regular people, doing regular things’. They hold a certain fascination for me, simply because I can relate to those kinds of characters more than others, my life being pretty uneventful in general. I definitely like a good cozy mystery or thriller every once in a while, but family dramas, introspective plot lines and emotionally-driven narratives are my reading comfort zone. For many, this sounds boring, but I’ve always been honest about the fact that I don’t enjoy fantasy novels-in fact, I’m probably one of the few bookworms who can say they’ve never finished the Lord of the Rings trilogy; I tried reading it, but had to put it down after a few pages, I found it boring.
This is all to say that I’ve found yet another book of short stories that I enjoy, mainly because it deals with the mundane occurrences that most people experience from day-to-day. A Crack in the Wall by Betty Jane Hegerat is a great example of how masterful a simple story can be. Nothing earth shattering happens in these stories, mainly the protagonists come to particular realizations about themselves or someone close to them. Still, after I finished each story, I found myself looking up from the book and pausing for a few seconds, letting everything sink in. In my mind, this is a sign of a brilliant writer.
The fact that Hegerat is from Alberta is just another reason for me to read and love this book. Some of the stories take place in Calgary, others in distant parts of Canada, but there is always a sense of familiarity with the writing: probably because the characters are so relatable.
On another note, I took this book out from the library, and I was shocked to see it had been signed by the author herself. I’m curious how this happened-not because Hegerat is difficult to find in Calgary (quite the opposite in fact, she’s a fixture of our literary scene here), but because I’ve never come across a library book with an autograph before. I’m curious if other readers get a small thrill in discovering the book they’re reading has been signed by the author; I no longer do because I’ve worked with authors for so long, but I’m hoping that this is still a (somewhat rare) phenomenon that appeals to other readers.
(This review has appeared elsewhere.)
Betty Jane Hegerat has been previously featured on Reading Recommendations and also in a post about her receiving the 2015 WGA Golden Pen Award. Anne Logan worked in Canadian publishing for 7 years and reviews books on her blog, i’ve read this.