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  • Published: 15 October 2024
  • ISBN: 9781405965927
  • Imprint: Penguin General UK
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 320
  • RRP: $22.99

The Berry Pickers

A novel about family, belonging, and the agony of imagining the life you should have had, sparked by the disappearance of a four-year-old Mi'kmaq girl from the blueberry fields of Maine.

One family’s deepest pain. Another family’s darkest secret.

On a hot day in 1960s Maine, six-year-old Joe watches his little sister Ruthie, sitting on her favourite rock at the edge of the blueberry fields, while their family, Mi’kmaq people from Nova Scotia, pick fruit. That afternoon, Ruthie vanishes without a trace. As the last person to see her, Joe will be forever haunted by grief, guilt, and the agony of imagining how his life could have been.

In an affluent suburb nearby, Norma is growing up as the only child of unhappy parents. She is smart, precocious, and bursting with questions she isn’t allowed to ask – about her missing baby photos; her dark skin; the strange, vivid dreams of campfires and warm embraces that return night after night. Norma senses there are things her parents aren’t telling her, but it will take decades to unravel the secrets they have kept buried since she was a little girl.

The Berry Pickers is an exquisitely moving story of unrelenting hope, unwavering love, and the power of family – even in the face of grief and betrayal.

  • Published: 15 October 2024
  • ISBN: 9781405965927
  • Imprint: Penguin General UK
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 320
  • RRP: $22.99

About the author

Amanda Peters

AMANDA PETERS is a writer of Mi’kmaq and settler ancestry. A graduate of the Master of Fine Arts Program at the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) in Santa Fe, New Mexico, she has a Certificate in Creative Writing from the University of Toronto. She is the winner of the 2021 Indigenous Voices Award for Unpublished Prose and a participant in the 2021 Writers’ Trust Rising Stars program. Her work has appeared in the Antigonish Review, Grain Magazine, the Alaska Quarterly Review, the Dalhousie Review and Filling Station Magazine. She lives in the Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia. The Berry Pickers is her first novel.

Praise for The Berry Pickers

Enthralling ... Powerfully rendered ... A cogent and heartfelt look at the ineffable pull of family ties

Publishers Weekly

The Berry Pickers is just like a handful of berries ... filled with so much sweet, so much sour, so much juice. Reading this book, I was only ever hungry when it ended

Morgan Talty, author of Night of the Living Rez

Lyrical ... You cannot help but love these characters from the first chapter, they stay with you long after the last page

Cherie Dimaline, author of The Marrow Thieves

Poignant ... Reads like a modern literary classic ... Moving, heartbreaking, and hopeful, The Berry Pickers is a powerful tale of haunting regret, bonds that will never be broken, and unrelenting love

Nick Medina, author of Sisters of the Lost Nation

Peters brilliantly crafts a multi-layered tale of how one irrational act creates irrevocable harm that ripples through multiple lives ... A fluid and emotional read that is both plainly and beautifully rendered ... An amazing read from an amazing new voice

Michelle Good, author of Five Little Indians

A beautiful novel about family and about the way it makes and breaks and remakes us again ... It contains a cast of characters you will never forget. With this book, Amanda Peters establishes herself as an essential new voice

Alexander MacLeod, author of Animal Person

Peters weaves a persistent thread of hope and resilience through her remarkable debut novel

Allison Zhao, Acta Victoriana

Heartbreaking and genuine, this saga of a family dealing with the disappearance of a beloved child will resonate with readers of historical fiction, Indigenous fiction and anyone who enjoys a solidly written story

Winnipeg Free Press

This emotional debut is a beautifully told story of identity, loss, and the power of love


Offers a deep exploration into the human spirit and the meaning of connection

Sydney Walsh, Atlantic Books

A poignant debut from a writer to watch

Kirkus, Starred Review

An unputdownable novel of identity, forgiveness, and insistent hope

The Monitor

A profound study of the love, grief and betrayals of two families

inews, The best new books to read in November 2023

For fans of Celeste Ng and Ann Patchett, this quietly beautiful book will break, then mend, your heart

Sarah Gelman, Amazon, The Best Books of 2023

The ghosts of lost children haunt generations in this lucid and assured début

The New Yorker, Best Books of 2023

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