Happy Publication Day to Aimee Wall’s We, Jane! A remarkable debut about intergenerational female relationships and resistance found in the unlikeliest of places, We, Jane explores the precarity of rural existence and the essential nature of abortion. The novel follows the Montréal-based, Newfoundland-born Marthe, who begins an intense friendship with an older woman—also from Newfoundland—who tells her a story about a duty to fulfill back home. We, Jane probes the importance of care work by women for women, underscores the complexity of relationships in close circles, and beautifully captures the inevitable heartache of understanding home. Lisa Moore, author of Something for Everyone, calls it “[a]n incendiary novel about love between women, reproductive rights, rural Newfoundland and a brave, absolutely fierce feminism in a world ‘simmering with heat and rage.’ It’s about coming home, about risk, and passing the torch. Beautifully crafted, alive with vision, propulsive and intimate, this novel knocked me off my feet. We, Jane is striking, indelible.”
We talked to Wall about her work, both as an author and as a translator, and about the tapestry of influences that shaped her debut novel.
B*H: What are you currently writing?
AW: I have toggled back to translating this month and have been revising my translation of a book by Alexie Morin called Open Your Heart.
B*H: What are you currently reading?
AW: In Memory of Memory by Maria Stepanova, translated by Sasha Dugdale.
B*H: Who, where, when, and what influences your writing?
AW: In the case of We, Jane: First, a book about the Jane Collective in Chicago called The Story of Jane: The Legendary Underground Feminist Abortion Service, written by Laura Kaplan, who was actually a member of Jane. Then, Agnès Varda’s film One Sings, the Other Doesn’t. L’événement by Annie Ernaux and Céline Sciamma’s Portrait of a Lady on Fire. Less obviously but still indelibly: The Big Why by Michael Winter, N-W by Zadie Smith, the short stories of Lucia Berlin and Lisa Moore. Among others. I kept a lot of books on my desk.
As a bonus, we’re delighted to share Wall’s introduction to and reading from We, Jane, which you can watch and enjoy below. We, Jane is available to order from our online shop, or from your local independent bookstore. Congratulations, Aimee!
Newfoundland-native Aimee Wall is a writer and translator. Her essays, short fiction, and criticism have appeared in numerous publications, including Maisonneuve, Matrix magazine, the Montreal Review of Books, and Lemon Hound. Wall’s translations include Vickie Gendreau’s novels Testament (2016), and Drama Queens (2019), and Sports and Pastimes by Jean-Philippe Baril Guérard (2017). She lives in Montreal. We, Jane is her first novel.