Love in the New Dark Times
by Sarah Sheard
In the dark times
Will there also be singing?
Yes, there will also be singing
About the dark times.
~ Bertolt Brecht: Motto to the ‘Svendborg Poems’ [Motto der ‘Svendborger Gedichte’], 1938, translated by John Willett in Poems, 1913-1956
“Sarah Sheard, in her new novel, enters the surreal world of politics where Bertolt Brecht and the G-20 clash, and where the dramatist’s eccentric love affair with a contemporary psychotherapist takes place during the battles over Toronto’s island airport. She is a very funny and vivid and graceful writer about the human condition.”
~ Michael Ondaatje
It’s autumn, 2009. Ainsley Giddings steps aboard the Toronto Island Ferry. She is intent on a self-imposed retreat and has rented a small cottage for a year.
But this idyllic retreat is not to be.
Bertolt Brecht is also on the ferry. He is the anti-fascist Berlin playwright from the 1930s, author of The Threepenny Opera with its song, ‘Mack The Knife’. But the thing is, he died in 1956. Why has he sprung back to life more than fifty years later on this island ferry boat?
A casual conversation develops into a bizarre and eccentric love affair. The affair quickly gets tangled up with politics. An international financial summit causes an unprecedented wave of police brutality and repression – possibly the most massive compromise of civil liberties in Canadian history.
The two lovers escape to Berlin, where the 1930s past pierces the present in a startling conclusion.