University of Toronto Magazine University of Toronto Magazine
Headshot of Rebecca Rosenblum in front of a bookshelf
Rebecca Rosenblum. Photo by Mark Raynes Roberts

Without a Trace

Rebecca Rosenblum's new novel highlights how a victim’s voice gets lost in tragedy

A woman’s disappearance sends shock waves through her university town because of its parallels to the murder years before of a much-­mythologized poet in an act of domestic violence.

It’s the intriguing premise for So Much Love, by Rebecca Rosenblum (MA 2007), a novel that – with a huge cast of characters and interweaving stories – took its author many years to write. Rosenblum started it in 2000, but the structure wasn’t working. “I had to wait until I was a good enough writer to write it,” she explains.

To that end, Rosenblum completed U of T’s creative writing master’s program, working with mentor Leon Rooke on her award-winning short story collection, Once. Her followup, The Big Dream, is a collection of linked stories that showed her how a book’s parts could work as a whole.

So Much Love was born from undergraduate discussions about poet Gwendolyn MacEwen – specifically, from Rosenblum’s discomfort with conflations of MacEwen’s work and the circumstances of her early death, which highlighted how a victim’s voice gets lost in tragedy. The novel also engages with ideas about university education. “Everyone learns something different from the same text,” Rosenblum says, “and I wanted to show that.”

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