Suddenly, By Bonnie Burnard

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The Independent Culture

Sandra first learns that the "little bastard bullet" in her breast is going to kill her on the same morning that the twin towers fall. Her husband, Jack, has to tell the doctor to get off the phone and look at the television.

Set in small-town Southern Ontario, Bonnie Burnard's second novel is a frank account of a fiftysomething woman's last weeks, and her relationship with the two women who care for her, best girlfriends, Jude and Colleen.

With the aid of her journals, Sandra is able to look back over their years together – from hip young mothers to older women who still prefer to be referred to as girls. Though some of the more maudlin passages could benefit from the editorial scythe, there are sentences that wouldn't be out of place in one of Carol Shields's novels.