Linda Rogers

The Empress Letterspreviousnext Ekstasis Editions

In the pristine gardens of quiet Oak Bay, the von Stronheim family seems perfectly at home, until young Poppy uncovers a mysterious subterranean world in which her mother is involved. Now years later, aboard the ocean liner The Empress of Asia, en route to China in search of her own daughter, Poppy begins a series of letters, determined to reveal the family secrets that shrouded her own life. Why did her mother leave San Francisco after her father's death to settle in Victoria, BC? What really happened to her father? What was going on in the basement of the family's waterfront home, with the Chinese workers who lived there and its hidden tunnel to the seashore? But Poppy has her own secrets and these too she is determined to bare. Her daughter Precious believes that Poppy is an adopted sister, and does not know Poppy is her mother. And who is the father? As she crosses the Pacific towards a hoped for reunion, Poppy relives and relates the extraordinary events of her life. From the proper drawing rooms of turn of the century Victoria, to the Chinatown opium trade and the studio of painter Emily Carr, to the gay London of Tallulah Bankhead, The Empress Letters is a riveting adventure exposing disturbing fractures beneath the smooth veneer of colonial society.

Poet, Novelist, lyricist and journalist Linda Rogers is the past Poet Laureate for Victoria. Her recent publications include: Homing, poetry from Ekstasis Editions, and The Carter Vanderbilt Carter Anthology 2014, from Exile Editions. She is a recipient of the Gwendolyn MacEwen Award, 2013, and the Montreal Broadside Prize, 2012. In addition to the Empress Trilogy, with two subsequent volumes, current projects include co-writing The Arioso Games with Ben Murray and Bozuk, a travel novel.

“Damn this one is fun, with lines like, ‘The boys are dead, poppy compost in Flanders. Long live the girls.’ A rare social satire that actually works, The Empress Letters is a tour de force about a vanished time on the west coast of Canada.” - The Sun Times

“The novel bursts with social and historical issues…” – Globe and Mail

“The Empress Letters manages to capture all the fantasy (of colonial Victoria) and also reveal the darkly class-ridden racist, and narcotics driven substructure on which the fantasy rests. Rogers gets top marks for the atmosphere she creates.” - Quill and Quire

ISBN 978-1-77171-025-1
288 pages
5 x 8
Now available
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