MACPHERSON, Andrea




Author Tags: Fiction, Poetry

Born in Vancouver in 1976, Andrea MacPherson of Cloverdale, B.C., has her MFA in Creative Writing from UBC where she was also the Editor of Prism International. She has worked as a freelance writer and editor, and has taught writing classes with Kwantlen University College and University College of the Fraser Valley. Her writing has appeared in Canada, the UK, the Republic of Ireland and New Zealand.

Her first novel When She Was Electric (2003) centres on the accidental death of a young girl in Merritt, B.C. during the 1930s and its effects on three generations of women: The enterprising grandmother who bought a rejected piece of land near an Indian Reserve; the daughters, ethereal Min and bold Nellie; and granddaughters Ana and Willa, who embody the hopes--and the secrets--of the family. MacPherson reveals the unreliability of memory, the fragility of life, and how a child’s death haunts a splintered town. A Globe & Mail reviewer described the debut novel as daunting and sophisticated.

In Andrea MacPherson’s second novel, Beyond the Blue (Random House $29.95), four women in the Scottish mill town of Dundee struggle to survive in 1918. The story chiefly concerns Morag, who works in the jute mill, her two daughters, Caro and Wallis, as well as Morag’s orphaned niece Imogen, during a period when many men are absent due to World War One. While Wallis works with her mother at the mill and painstakingly saves her money in order to escape from Dundee, her beautiful sister Caro hopes to free herself from Dundee via a calculated love affair. Beyond the Blue incorporates the suffragette movement, an influenza epidemic and historical events such as the Tay Bridge disaster and the Easter Uprising. MacPherson’s grandmother grew up in Dundee across the street from the Bowbridge Works jute mill, where MacPherson’s great-grandmother worked.

BOOKS:

Ellipses (Signature Editions 2014) - poetry
When She Was Electric (Raincoast Books, 2003) - novel
Natural Disasters (Palimpset Press, 2007) - poetry
Beyond the Blue (Random House, 2007) - novel
Away (Signature Editions, 2008) - poetry

[BCBW 2014] "Fiction" "Poetry"

WHEN SHE WAS ELECTRIC (POLESTAR $21.95)
Article



Andrea MacPherson, who started writing at age six, is yet another published graduate of UBC’s acclaimed Creative Writing program.

Prior to completing her first novel, When She Was Electric (Polestar $21.95), set in Merritt, she took classes from Keith Maillard and George McWhirter.

“The professors are writing now—they’re living what you’re living,” she says. “And once a few students get publishing deals, there’s shared information. That’s how I got the contact for my agent.”

When She Was Electric explores the relationships between three female generations, who spend a WW II summer on the Petrie family ranch in the B.C. interior. Nellie and Min are full-grown women, yet sneak out their bedroom window at night to meet men. The adjoining Shulus native reserve attracts Petrie women from two generations—and becomes the focus of a police investigation.

Min’s daughter is Ana, the narrator, is struggling with the death of a younger sister who died from eating poisonous berries. It would help Ana if her mother Min weren’t so aloof. “[Min] sucked on a cigarette then, the ember brightening, and she was suddenly caught in the orange light, her features ethereal. She exhaled slowly, the smoke circling her head, and she was bathed in night again.”

Once upon a time her mother had been vibrant, once upon a time she had ‘burned as if she was electric.’

One night, Ana follows Min and discovers more than she bargained for. Her mother disdains men, yet she craves their attention. “She is sick of men. She wishes to be free of them, ashamed of her own ache for their hands and mouths on her. She turns on the tap and runs cold water over her wrists.”

Ana meets Joe, a boy from the reserve, and has secret encounters of her own. As she experiences sexual awakening, she begins to understand her mother’s behaviour.

Overseeing them all, Grandma Petrie is both matriarch and patriarch. “When she was not in her plain, grey woolen dresses she wore an old pair of men’s overalls, tight across her thick breasts and the wide bulge of her stomach it was Fran Petrie entirely, her own resolute, intimidating character, that seemed to announce, I am capable of anything. I will sustain all.”

MacPherson traveled to Merritt many times to research the novel. She works at a graphic design firm in Richmond. Her first book of poetry is forthcoming from Beach Holme Publishing. 1-55192-596-6


[SUMMER 2003 BCBW]


Beyond the Blue (Random House $29.95)
Article



In Andrea MacPherson’s second novel, Beyond the Blue (Random House $29.95), four women in the Scottish mill town of Dundee struggle to survive in 1918.
Set during a period when many men are absent due to World War One, the story chiefly concerns Morag, who works in the jute mill, her two daughters, Caro and Wallis, as well as Morag’s orphaned niece Imogen. While Wallis works with her mother at the mill and painstakingly saves her money in order to escape from Dundee, her beautiful sister Caro hopes to free herself via a calculated love affair.Beyond the Blue incorporates the suffragette movement, an influenza epi- demic and historical events such as the Tay Bridge disaster and the Easter Uprising. MacPherson’s grandmother grew up in Dundee across the street from the Bowbridge Works jute mill, where MacPherson’s great-grandmother worked.

0-679-31422-9

[BCBW 2007]