The Girl Who Stole Everything

Norman Ravvin

September 2019

A stolen house on a Polish square. A pop bottle on Vancouver’s east side. Nadia Baltzan knows a few things about theft. The Girl Who Stole Everything is a fresh and telling portrait of the relationship between prewar Polish shtetl life and Jewish lives today. In Poland, a house stands empty on a village square seventy-five years after its owners were killed. In Vancouver, the aftermath of a murder overturns the life of the victim’s niece. In these old and new worlds a mystery lurks, and Norman Ravvin lovingly recovers the past of both.

Norman Ravvin’s books have won prizes in Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec. His novels include The Joyful Child, Café des Westens, and Lola by Night, which appeared in Serbian translation. His story collection Sex, Skyscrapers, and Standard Yiddish won the Ontario Arts Council K. M. Hunter Prize, and his travel essays are collected in Hidden Canada: An Intimate Travelogue. He has traveled many times to Poland, to his family’s prewar home and across the country, and this experience informs his writing. He lives in Montreal.

$21.95 | ISBN: 9781773900278

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$ 8.95 | ISBN: 9781773900308

What they say
A novel with an elegant narrative force
Mordechai Ben-Dat, CJN News

[Norman Ravvin's] most recent novel is an intriguing story whose key figures intersect with one another on a matrix of geography, time and relationship that joins the pre-Second World War Polish village of Radzanow and the east end of downtown postwar Vancouver.

The girl – actually a young woman – of the title lives in Vancouver. She befriends a young man in her downtown Vancouver neighbourhood. For separate reasons and at different times, both characters are drawn to Radzanow, where they meet a mother and her daughter. All of these lives are, of course, intertwined in mysterious ways, as Ravvin poetically suggests, like “the snarled yarn of an old sweater.”

The secrets to unravelling this snarled yarn in the present time lie hidden in past events in Radzanow and in Vancouver. Ravvin is superb in leading the reader through the complicated weave of clues, intimations and disclosures that ultimately connect the main characters and yield the novel’s elegant, full narrative force. [Read more.]

October 2019, Canadian Jewish News

"A feast of atmosphere and mystery"
Michael Kluckner

Ranging across Vancouver's neighbourhoods and touching down in a magical ancestral Polish village, Ravvin's characters weave a spell on the reader. "Nadia the dulcimer girl" studies music at UBC and lives in Point Grey but is irresistibly drawn to Cordova Street, "shot through with noir – a washed-out street of failure and dissolution," where she busks on the step of an old storefront, once a pawn shop called Reliable Loan where the Polish-Jewish proprietor was murdered in 1962. She connects with Simon, who walks every day from his cramped West End apartment to the storefront, steeped in family memory, which he leases as a performance space. Ravvin's new novel is a feast of atmosphere and mystery.
Michael Kluckner, author Toshiko and Vanishing Vancouver

About Ravvin's previous novels

“A remarkable talent.” 
Calgary Herald

“Powerful and beautiful writing.”
Janice Kulyk Keefer, author Under Eastern Eyes, The Ladies Lending Library

“Both quietly humorous and harrowing.” 
University of Toronto Quarterly

“Wickedly witty, quirkily original.” 
New Brunswick Reader

“Absurdly gorgeous . . . the sky’s no limit in Ravvin’s luscious narrative lexicon.” 
Judith Fitzgerald, Toronto Star 

“Brief moments exquisitely recounted.”   
David Staines, University Of Toronto Quarterly 


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