Poverty, youth, and longing collide on an isolated Canadian island in Ruddock's searing debut novel.
Rachel and her 11-year-old son, Tristan, are alone in Canada’s rugged north, working odd jobs when they can but most often isolating themselves on a small, wild island where Rachel’s father kept a hunting cabin. Trying to provide for her son, Rachel begins sleeping with local boatman Keb in exchange for money. After winter drives them to a town on a neighboring island, Rachel wanders too far from their small cabin and perishes in the cold, only being found when the ice on which she died thaws and she is washed to shore. This leaves Tristan alone in a harsh world that doesn’t show much compassion to the boy beyond getting him a job at a resort being built on the island he and his mother once called home. There, Tristan becomes just another nameless worker, all the while harboring a sense of loss for the place that was once his refuge. When a young girl named Tomasin arrives for the summer, she picks Tristan out and develops a crush that pushes both of them beyond their emotional limits. In haunting prose, the author has created a moving and tense look at what becomes of children when they aren’t or can’t be cared for and must fend for themselves. It explores the depths of human emotion and the limits we struggle to overcome.
A moving, lyrical novel that explores the emotional pain of hardship on children.