Joan Barfoot Biography
(1946– ), Free Press, Abra, Gaining Ground, Dancing in the Dark, Duet for Three, Family News
Canadian novelist, born in Owen Sound, Ontario, educated at the University of Western Ontario. After graduating she began working as a journalist and joined the London, Ontario, Free Press in 1976. Abra (1978, UK title Gaining Ground, 1980), the first of Barfoot's radical feminist novels, deals with a young woman who leaves her husband and child to live in the Canadian wilderness. In Dancing in the Dark (1982; filmed in 1986) a criminally insane woman recounts her reasons for killing her unfaithful husband and searches for psychological freedom within the confines of her prison. Duet for Three (1985) and Family News (1989) analyse relations between mothers and daughters in terms of the quest for self-knowledge as the basis for authentic identity. Tensions between fantasy and reality reach a compelling intensity in Plain Jane (1992), in which a withdrawn female librarian begins corresponding with a convicted male criminal. Charlotte and Claudia Keeping in Touch (1992) is lighter in tone and deals affirmatively with a long-standing friendship between two women.