by Kim McCullough
In this powerful Canadian coming-of-age novel, Claire and her Metis friend Jeff both struggle to overcome loss and dislocation, to restart their emotional growth and reconnect with the central people in their lives -- including each other.
Claire Sullivan quickly settles in to her new home at Clearwater Lake in northern Manitoba, especially once she befriends Jeff Carson, a quiet mixed-race loner who lives with his parents in the other half of the Sullivans’ duplex. Together, the teens roam the wild, isolated beauty of the nearby lakeshore and forest, forging a deep friendship based on loyalty and trust.
As peaceful as things seem on the surface, Claire and Jeff are both battling powerful undercurrents at home. Claire worries that her sister, Leah, who has been sexually assaulted, is sinking into a drug-fuelled depression, while Jeff finds it difficult to stand firm in the face of his father’s increasingly brutal temper.
When Leah commits suicide, the consequences are far-reaching and devastating. Claire retreats to Regina to redefine her idea of family, while Jeff leaves his own family behind, drifting from place to place,unable to settle down. Although they both keep moving forward through time, their lives seem to have stalled.
Years later, after several near misses, a chance meeting first reopens old wounds, but ultimately allows Claire and Jeff to return to Clearwater Lake, and make another try at acceptance, and maybe happiness.