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W. Paul Anderson Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Hunger's Brides (2004)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

W. Paul Anderson is a Canadian author best known for writing the sprawling epic Hunger’s Bride. That book was selected as a Kiriyama Pacific-Rim Prize Notable Book, and was a finalist for a Commonwealth Writers prize and a finalist for a W.O. Mitchell Prize. The book was also named Writers Guild of Alberta novel of the year in his native land of Canada.

Paul Anderson grew up in Canada, but left in his early twenties to travel the world. He would spend fifteen years of his life traveling in Asia. He also spent time studying in Europe and teaching in Latin America. He was a sailor and logged over 25,000 miles of coastal and ocean sailing during this time. He crossed the Atlantic ocean twice as a delivery sailor and used his expertise to partner in a sailing charter operation in the Caribbean. His extensive list of jobs and careers doesn’t stop there as he’s also been a fruit picker in Switzerland, construction worker in Australia, and, of course, a deckhand in Monte Carlo.

W. Paul Anderson has a common name, but he should not be confused with the director Paul WS Anderson who is best known for the Resident Evil movies or Paul Thomas Anderson, the director of There Will Be Blood. There is also the famous Pamela Anderson brother Billy-Paul, but that’s not him either.

Hunger’s Brides, his debut novel is told through both past and present as the story of two women. Originally, Anderson thought that these were actually two different projects that came to him during his travels.

The story of how he came up with this epic story begin in Mexico in 1988. Anderson was traveling with his future wife/then girlfriend when she was attacked by a pack of dogs while out walking one day near the house that they had rented. She ended up being okay, but a local man decided to take matters into his own hands. Recently, the pack’s leader had nearly attacked his own children so he set out to hunt and kill the animal. It was something that drew Anderson and his wife closer to the man and his family.

They got to know the man and his family. They were ordinary people who operated a small seafood restaurant in the town. However, it was after the day was done that the family become extraordinary. The man’s wife wrote poetry and they were teaching their children Nahuatl, the language spoken by the Aztecs. The man himself wrote fables, played guitar, and did paintings. Anderson and his wife would spend time with the family after the restaurant closed where they would learn of Mexico’s past, mythology, and art.

The man who ran the restaurant really caught his interest and the man saw that. He would recommend to Anderson that he should become familiar with two ancient Mexican poets. An Aztec poet/emperor from the 15th century and a 17th century poet named Juana Inés de la Cruz. He listened to the man and both of these poets are apart of Hunger’s Brides.

Anderson had already begun working on a series of short stories focused on the themes of hunger with Beulah at the center of it all. It wasn’t until he read this quote from Sor Juana’s writings that he knew that his projects would have to become one.

From the moment I was first illuminated by the light of reason, my inclination toward letters has been so vehement that not even the admonitions of others . . . nor my own meditations have been sufficient to cause me to forswear this natural impulse that God placed in me . . . that inclination exploded in me like gunpowder. . . .

“Hunger’s Brides” is the epic novel that put Paul Anderson on the map. The book focuses on the great Spanish poet Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, her modern-day acolyte named Beulah Limosneros, and how the two connect through genius, hunger, and obsession.

Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz was one of the greatest poets of her time, but the mystery surrounding her life has intrigued many writers throughout history. de la Cruz was one of the great writers of her time and she did it without ever setting foot in Europe. While growing up as a child prodigy with great beauty who was much desired at the viceregal court in Mexico City. Instead, at the age of nineteen she decided to enter a convent.

The mystery of her decision has always puzzled historians, but her decision to make a vow of silence is even more puzzling. She signed a vow in contrition in blood and never spoke again until her death. She had nearly a quarter-century of amazing poetry and plays with much of it written while never speaking.

Meanwhile in the present, Donald Gregory is a former college professor whose career flamed out due to adultery. He is in an apartment with a box in his hand and a young woman bleeding. The woman is Beulah Limosneros, one of his former students and lovers, who disappeared in Mexico two years earlier.

Beulah was obsessed with the works of Sor Juana and headed to Mexico to find out more about her. The police are after Gregory for what happened in the apartment and he decides to look into the box to see if there is any incriminating evidence against him. What he finds is much different as the box is filled with thing from her travels in the Yucatan, translated poems of Sor Juana, diary entries, research notes, and a strange manuscript written mostly in the mesmerizing voice of one of the 17th century’s greatest poets.

This work of historical fiction focuses on the journeys of these these three unique characters: Donald Gregory, Beulah Limosneros, and Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. Gregory is working towards knowledge about himself, Juana’s withdrawal from the world, and the mystic Beulah’s pilgrimage to Mexico to find answers of the distant past.

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