Brick and Mortar is a collection of linked stories set in Calvin Park Presbyterian Church. Each story turns on a revealing moment in the daily experience of the people who live their lives here: lighting a cigarette, putting on perfume, staunching a nosebleed. But these are the moments when the natural and the spiritual intersect, the point where the ordinary puts on the extraordinary and everything becomes what it really is.
Brick and Mortar was shortlisted for the 2001 Ottawa Book Award. The award went to Giller nominee Alan Cumyn for his book Burridge Unbound. Brick and Mortar also received honourable mention in the fiction category for books published in 2000 from Faith Today magazine.
Oberon Press, 2000
ISBN 0778011534 hardcover
ISBN 0778011542 softcover
Brick and Mortar is currently out of print. Try abebooks.com or your local library.
Reviews of Brick and Mortar
“… touching portrayals of lives beset by the ordinary slings and arrows, but centred on a community of faith. … Gresik’s devout stories hover pleasingly between earth and heaven.” —Jim Bartley, The Globe and Mail
“[Brick and Mortar is] An unusual and engaging collection that focuses with humour and compassion on a Presbyterian congregation — an old woman who frets when she can’t get a weekly bulletin, a child who plays on the floor under the pew, admiring the whorls in the wooden seat, the baker who makes the communion bread.” —Ottawa Citizen
“In Brick and Mortar, Alison Gresik allows her fiction to follow the collective and disparate minds of a single faith community into both expected and unexpected corners of the church (and of her characters’ interior worlds). As a result, she kneads a nourishing mix of well-crafted, character-driven fiction. Readers of faith will be challenged. Those seeking will be intrigued.” —David Wright, Nimble Spirit
“Contemporary Canadian authors have been criticized for producing novels with strong images but weak characters. However, in the tradition of Margaret Laurence, Brick and Mortar introduces us to flawed-but-fascinating human beings. … Gresik’s eye for narrative detail and subtle use of biblical imagery press home a message that Christian readers will instantly recognize: our sin is great, but grace is irresistible.” —Lloyd Rang, The Banner