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COURAGE: Novelist delves into life after combat
Katrin Horowitz saw inspiration on the face of a cohort when the woman announced her husband had just volunteered to go to Afghanistan.
“The look on her face was extraordinary. I found I couldn’t get it out of my mind.”
With fear and trepidation of her own, Horowitz approached the woman, in hopes of continuing that inspiration. With her help, and the husband’s, she wrote the Great B.C. Novel finalist The Best Soldier’s Wife.
“I made myself a promise that I would not put a word on paper until he got safely home,” Horowitz said. “It’s a scary time not only for the soldier but for the soldiers family as well.”
Released this month, and based in 2011 at the tail end of Canada’s combat role in Afghanistan,
Amy’s tale is told through her letters to the wife of the Chief of Defense Staff after her husband, a reservist and helicopter pilot with the Canadian Forces volunteers for tour. Set in Victoria, Amy struggles with her husband, Ian’s time away, and his return home, a portion of the story that offered Horowitz some personal insight.
“My father and grandfather both fought on the wrong side of World War Two and World War One,” Horowitz said. “As I came to the end of this book I suddenly realized for the first time my father had PTSD … he treated it with booze.”
Amy’s references to real military personnel killed in Afghanistan, and the book launch timing are intentional.
“That was my way of honouring those soldiers that I think we, despite Remembrance Day, forget,” Horowitz said. “One of my intentions was to honour the soldiers but not necessarily the generals and politicians decisions.”
The Best Soldier’s Wife launches in Greater Victoria at the GVPL Saanich Centennial branch, 3110 Tillicum Rd. on Wednesday, Nov. 13 at 7 p.m.