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The Waterproof Bible, Andrew Kaufman (Random House) 

A magical tale of faith, as told by a former Coast contributor.

Andrew Kaufman's All My Friends Are Superheroes had its own magical powers: the thin novella was a surprise hit when it came out almost seven years ago. The former Coast contributor's first novel, The Waterproof Bible, still reads like multiple novellas. There are the intertwined stories of Rebecca, a young, grieving woman whose emotional powers are so strong they affect everyone around her; Rebecca's ex-husband Stewart, building a boat in Manitoba, while waiting for the rainmakers' arrival; and Aby, from the underground "Aquatic" civilization, who moves around like a green Sea Monkey from the old comic ads. Everyone is searching for religious meaning in their lives. There are very few Canadian authors, other than Sheila Heti, Yann Martel and occasionally Atwood, willing to submerge that deeply into magic (especially when a story is set in downtown Toronto). So it takes some time to adjust to Kaufman's world and to these characters, but his prose is so refreshingly heartfelt and natural that he makes it easy to believe.

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