Longlisted for the 2021 Scotiabank Giller Prize
Shortlisted for the 2021 Paragraphe Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction
Shortlisted for the 2021 Concordia University First Book Prize
Le Grand Prix du livre de Montreal: 2021 Jury Selection
A remarkable debut about intergenerational female relationships and resistance found in the unlikeliest of places, We, Jane explores the precarity of rural existence and the essential nature of abortion.
Searching for meaning in her Montreal life, Marthe begins an intense friendship with an older woman, also from Newfoundland, who tells her a story about purpose, about a duty to fulfill. It's back home, and it goes by the name of Jane.
Marthe travels back to a small community on the island with the older woman to continue the work of an underground movement in 60s Chicago: abortion services performed by women, always referred to as Jane. She commits to learning how to continue this legacy and protect such essential knowledge. But the nobility of her task and the reality of small-town life compete, and personal fractures within their group begin to grow.
We, Jane probes the importance of care work by women for women, underscores the complexity of relationships in close circles, and beautifully captures the inevitable heartache of understanding home.
"In three concise and focused sections, Aimee Wall explores the 'underground' network of abortion providers, the “Janes.” The protagonist Marthe is lost in an entirely relatable way: she is tired of the vernissages and the fancy cocktails poured in alleyway pop-ups on the plateau of Montreal. She wants to belong to a sisterhood and a life with greater purpose. The premise of the book is fascinating, the character of Marthe is intriguing, and the gaping desire we all have to belong and to count for something is deftly drawn. The structure, dialogue, scene, and transitions are all seamlessly stitched to form a compelling literary experience. Written with great skill and intelligence, the book … is at once poetic, serious and filled with light." —2021 Paragraphe Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction Jury Citation
"We, Jane engages the topic of abortion but looks more closely, and deftly, at the social dynamics of activist work, and how this work is inextricable from personal pride, self-worth, and romanticized ideas about female friendship." —Journal of Newfoundland and Labrador Studies
"We, Jane is a riveting story of Montreal meets outport Newfoundland, the complex relationships among women, and how important it is to care for the female body, and our right to a choice. Eerie, atmospheric, and tormented, Wall’s narrative about a group of lost and found souls connected by a shared mission to provide safe reproductive health services to rural Newfoundland communities mirrors the struggle against paralysis so many women have faced in the battle to control their bodies. Wall’s ability to capture the essence of what home means and what it means to be away is stunning. With a mix of humour and wit, she illustrates life on the mainland versus being on the island. We, Jane is a necessary fiercely feminist read, beautifully crafted and [a] striking first novel. It’s complex, heartfelt and intimate." —2021 Concordia University First Book Prize Jury Citation
"A meditation on purpose, the complexities of female friendships, and the fundamentality of the right over one’s own body, We, Jane is witty, unexpected, poetic and so necessary." —Maisonneuve
"Having worked primarily as a translator before writing this novel, Wall employs a strong sense of nuance and subtlety in language and storytelling to explore multifaceted characters. We, Jane takes risks from start to finish, making it a consequential and rewarding read." —PRISM International
"We, Jane is an ode to the power of vulnerability, the potential intensity of connections between women, and the importance of continuing to support women even when it seems impossible." —The Miramichi Review
"This is a lyrical tale, told in writing spare and assured by first-time author Aimee Wall, best known for her translations of cutting-edge fiction into French. In fewer than 200 pages, Wall brings to life the women of Jane, their work and the cultural context of their home province of Newfoundland and Labrador." —Herizons Magazine
"Wall’s first novel is still electric in its fragmented, almost screenplay-like prose that dizzies the mind. The fragments capture abortion’s place in public discourse faithfully: something we gesture to, tip toe around, but never quite say openly… We, Jane provides a personal, honest glimpse into the big questions we as women ask out loud and the small, private ones we only think about." —Canthius
"The book is ultimately a feminist tale, one that shows how complicated and manipulative relationships between women can be, while implying the necessity of coming together for a greater purpose. We, Jane is captivating, well written, and mostly an important read for any woman who, through loss, wants to find a new beginning." —Montreal Review of Books