A wonderful collection of insightful and masterfully crafted stories from the 2010 Scotiabank Giller Prize-winner
They say it’s coming back. Before long the moon will find a shadow under the lake. Bubbles will rise and the shadow will spread to a stain. Then, in the night, in the dark, the floating island will surface. Here again. As it was a year ago. The day Tom died.
It’s almost a year since fifteen-year-old Matt and his younger brother, Tom, rowed out to the island. Matt, confined to a wheelchair and haunted by nightmares, can’t remember what happened. Nor does he want to.
Only when Sarah Bell, a tough, Geordie girl with a no-nonsense approach, takes up the newly vacant position of Matt’s carer, do things begin to change for him. At first, resentful of her presence, he tries to drive her away, but she isn’t like the other carers. She isn’t like anyone he’s ever met.
Sarah’s attention meanwhile, is focussed on Robert, Matt’s psychiatrist. Mature, attractive and a world away from everything she knows, he seems to be exactly what she needs. But Robert, highly skilled at solving other people’s problems, is struggling to deal with his own.
As the floating island returns to the surface of the lake, Robert forces Matt to confront the truth about his brother’s death, but also, unknowingly, exposes him to an adult world of passion, guilt, and betrayal...
“The characters in these note-perfect stories tend to make their most important discoveries by stumbling against them…The writing here is an absolute joy to read; clear, economical and condensed.”
Kate Saunders, The Times
“Funny, thoughtful and oblique, Skibsrud’s stories explode with sudden meaning.”
“What is it about Canada that keeps on producing some of the best short stories writers in the world? The latest of the younger generation and the most talked about is Johanna Skibsrud. It’s a name that might be hard to remember, but her stories are difficult to forget.”
Christena Appleyard, Daily Mail