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University of Toronto Press

We, Jane by Aimee Wall

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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.

Searching for meaning in her Montreal life, Marthe begins an intense friendship with an older woman, also from Newfoundland, who tells her a story about purpose, about a duty to fulfill. It’s back home, and it goes by the name of Jane.

Marthe travels back to a small community on the island with the older woman to continue the work of an underground movement in 60s Chicago: abortion services performed by women, always referred to as Jane. She commits to learning how to continue this legacy and protect such essential knowledge. But the nobility of her task and the reality of small-town life compete, and personal fractures within their group begin to grow.

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.

Praise for We, Jane:

“An 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.” —Lisa Moore, author of Something for Everyone

2021 Concordia University First Book Prize Jury Citation:

We, Jane is a riveting story of Montreal meets outport Newfoundland, the complex relationships among women, and how important it is to care for the female body, and our right to a choice. Eerie, atmospheric, and tormented, Wall’s narrative about a group of lost and found souls connected by a shared mission to provide safe reproductive health services to rural Newfoundland communities mirrors the struggle against paralysis so many women have faced in the battle to control their bodies. Wall’s ability to capture the essence of what home means and what it means to be away is stunning. With a mix of humour and wit, she illustrates life on the mainland versus being on the island. We, Jane is a necessary fiercely feminist read, beautifully crafted and [a] striking first novel. It’s complex, heartfelt and intimate.”

2021 Paragraphe Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction Jury Citation:

“In three concise and focused sections, Aimee Wall explores the “underground” network of abortion providers, the “Janes.” The protagonist Marthe is lost in an entirely relatable way: she is tired of the vernissages and the fancy cocktails poured in alleyway pop-ups on the plateau of Montreal. She wants to belong to a sisterhood and a life with greater purpose. The premise of the book is fascinating, the character of Marthe is intriguing, and the gaping desire we all have to belong and to count for something is deftly drawn. The structure, dialogue, scene, and transitions are all seamlessly stitched to form a compelling literary experience. Written with great skill and intelligence, the book … is at once poetic, serious and filled with light.”

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.