Montreal Gazette

Author will not see release of her first book of fiction

Novel’s advance reviews were full of praise

- LAUREN LA ROSE

TORONTO — Canadian non-fiction author and editor A.S.A. Harrison has died just months before the release of her debut novel.

A Penguin Canada publicist said the author died Sunday at age 65.

In the 1970s and ’80s, Susan Harrison worked as a typesetter for the Toronto Sun and Gandalph Graphics. She also had a career as an editor for C Magazine as well as independen­tly for a large number of galleries, artists and critics.

In 1974, she published Orgasms (Coach House Press), a collection of interviews with women, under the pen name A.S.A. Harrison.

Harrison was the author of four non-fiction books, including Zodicat Speaks (Viking Penguin), a humorous book on cat astrology, and Revelation­s: Essays on Striptease and Sexuality with Margaret Dragu (Nightwood Editions). She also collaborat­ed with Elly Roselle on Changing the Mind, Healing the Body, a series of case studies in psychother­apy.

Harrison’s first novel, The Silent Wife, is due for publicatio­n on June 25, and she was at work on another psychologi­cal thriller.

Literary agent Samantha Haywood said Harrison was her first client and described the late author as a dear family friend. Harrison had been working on fiction for a decade or more, and The Silent Wife marked the culminatio­n of all of

“I’m just heartbroke­n that she won’t be alive to see it come out.”

LITERARY AGENT SAMANTHA HAYWOOD

those efforts, she said.

“I absolutely loved working with her and I’m so proud of her novel and her work as a writer,” Haywood said Tuesday. “She worked extremely hard and she was a real artist and a perfection­ist and I think that really shows in The Silent Wife.

“It’s so finely written on every level in terms of story, in terms of character, in terms of dialogue, in terms of the craftsmans­hip of her language. I’m just heartbroke­n that she won’t be alive to see it come out and to be at her book launch.”

Haywood said she does take some solace in the fact that Harrison was able to read advance praise of The Silent Wife from several bestsellin­g authors.

She also was able to see a starred review from Publishers Weekly, which described the novel as “a smart, nuanced portrait of a dying marriage.”

Harrison is survived by her husband of 30 years, visual artist John Massey.

 ?? JOHN MASSEY/ THE CANADIAN PRESS ?? Author and editor Susan Harrison published under the name A.S.A. Harrison. Her first novel, The Silent Wife, is due for release June 25.
JOHN MASSEY/ THE CANADIAN PRESS Author and editor Susan Harrison published under the name A.S.A. Harrison. Her first novel, The Silent Wife, is due for release June 25.

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