Skip to content

By Sandra Birdsell

“…superb…Waiting for Joe stirs us to wonder who is waiting for us to change, move on, or come home to a spiritual rest. Though close to the world of Flannery O’Connor, it is in its own special universe, the Birdsell landscape of the human heart.”
Winnipeg Free Press


Birdsell_Waiting for Joel

After you’ve lost it all–job, house, savings, future–what have you got left? A piercing new novel of our times by one of Canada’s finest fiction writers.

On a chilly early morning in late spring, Joe Beaudry and his wife, Laurie, wake up in circumstances that would challenge saints: they are on the lam in a stolen motor home on the edge of a Walmart parking lot. They’ve gone bust, spectacularly: lost the house, the business, and Joe has stuck his ancient father in a nursing home so they could flee their creditors. Joe knows the reality of the situation, but Laurie somehow thinks it’s only temporary, and maxes out their last credit card on wardrobe and hair colour and wishes and dreams. For Joe, it’s the last straw in a marriage that once seemed predestined and now seems simply unworkable.

Pushed to figure out what to do next, Joe simply takes off hitchhiking…leaving Laurie waiting for Joe, and Joe wondering how he will ever find meaning in a world that has disappointed his every expectation. The road for both of them provides surprising answers…

“Birdsell makes excellent use of rambling inner monologue to unearth her characters’ motives… a surprisingly nuanced study of a man who never manages to find a place to fit in.”
Quill & Quire (starred review)

“Sandra Birdsell has written a quiet but deep — sometimes overwhelming — exploration of life’s disappointments, and its prospects.”
The Star Phoenix

 “Waiting for Joe is a deeply moving novel about family, love, loss and ‘enough.’ And what is enough for Laurie turns out to be quite different from what’s enough for Joe. Birdsell draws their lives with vivid detail, suspense and sensitivity, creating a narrative that forces readers to keep turning the pages to find out how all the characters sort out their individual sense of ‘enough.'”
Edmonton Journal

“Sandra Birdsell’s new novel left me dumbfounded at her skill at getting inside people.”
-Vancouver Sun


Random House Canada, Fall 2010


Finalist for the 2010 Governor General’s Award for Fiction

Shortlisted for the Regina Book Award

Winner of the Saskatchewan Book Award for Fiction