Becoming Lin

By Tricia Dower

Categories: Fiction
Imprint: Caitlin Press
Paperback : 9781987915075, 288 pages, March 2016


It's 1965. Twenty-two-year-old Linda Wise despairs of escaping her overprotective parents and her hometown, where far too many know she was sexually assaulted as a teenager. Deliverance arrives in the form of marriage to the charismatic, twenty-six-year-old Ronald Brunson, a newly ordained Methodist minister who ignites her passion for social justice. Ron tells her war and racial discrimination are symptoms of the "moral rot" destroying the country, conjuring up something dark and rancid in her mind, thrilling in its wickedness. He sweeps her away from Stony River, New Jersey, to serve with him at a church in a speck-on-the-map prairie town in Minnesota. What lies ahead for her over the next seven years is the subject of Tricia Dower's penetrating study of a marriage and a woman's evolving sense of self as she confronts the trauma that keeps her from her future, unfettered self. Becoming Lin evokes the turbulent era of Freedom Riders for civil rights, Vietnam war resistance, the US government's war against the resisters, sisterhood and the push for equal rights for women, new-age metaphysics, motivational psychology and the unravelling of the traditional marriage contract - an era that resonates in today's persistent racism and sexism, perpetual war and wide-reaching government surveillance.


  • Runner-up, City of Victoria Butler Prize 2016


"Some of the most powerful and eloquent Canadian novelists of the 20th and 21st century belong to this tradition, including Margaret Atwood, Margaret Lawrence and Ethel Wilson. These are authors who open up what had been cloaked in silence, the oppression of women and their self-discoveries in resistance. We can now add to this important liberation canon the name of Tricia Dower..."

The Vancouver Sun

"In Becoming Lin Tricia Dower has established herself as a literary force to be reckoned with. This quietly compelling novel accomplishes the magical—it allows us to become ourselves at the same time we watch this great Canadian heroine become herself. Touching, genuine, visceral and real."

—Richard Wagamese, Award-winning author of Indian Horse and Medicine Walk

"Set in small town Minnesota at a time when the Vietnam War was being fought and resisted, Becoming Lin is utterly convincing—a fascinating, absorbing blend of history and the domestic, as well as a powerful reminder of the personal cost paid for the freedoms and rights we are still struggling to maintain."

—Kathy Page, celebrated author of The Story of My Face, Alphabet and Paradise & Elsewhere