Award-winning author Meredith Quartermain's second novel and seventh book, U Girl , is a coming-of-age story set in Vancouver in 1972, a city crossed between love-in hip and forest-corp square.
Frances Nelson escapes her small-town background to attend first-year university in the big city. "You've got to find the great love," her new friend Dagmar tells her. But what makes it love instead of sex? And what kind of love bonds friends? She gleanssurprising answers from Jack, a construction worker, Dwight, a mechanic and dope peddler, Carla, a bar waitress who's seen better days, and her English professor and sailing friend, Nigel. U Girl blurs the line between fiction and reality as Frances begins to write a novel about the people she comes to know. With seamless metafictional play and an engagement with place that has come to be Quartermain's definitive style, U Girl tells the story of a woman's struggle to be taken seriously - to be equal to men despite her sexual attraction to them, and to dislodge accepted narratives of gender and class in the institution of the university during the "free love" era. In this sprawling and perceptive novel, Quartermain takes us through sexual experimentation, drugs, jobs, meditating on Wreck Beach, sailing up through Desolation Sound, and studying at the University of British Columbia.
U Girl is a story that pays homage to local haunts and literary influences in equal measure. Quartermain brings to Canadian literature a wholesome and vital female perspective in this long-awaited bildungsroman .