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Digital Subscriptions > Quill & Quire > Jan/Feb 2018 > Speaking in tongues

Speaking in tongues

Heidi Sopinka’s debut novel addresses the nature and purpose of art, but sacrifices narrative momentum

The Dictionary of Animal Languages Heidi Sopinka Hamish Hamilton Canada about a third of the way into Heidi Sopinka’s debut novel, the author describes a painting her protagonist, an artist named Ivory Frame, executes while still a student: There is a group of gluttonous grotesque women, with heads … described as phallic though I thought of them as equine. They sit at a table, abundant with extravagant dishes. It is all writhing and moving and somewhat alive. There is a woman alone, with a neutral expression on her face. She is off in the corner of the painting and appears to be unaware that her fork has dug into a plump, live baby.

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