The Very Marrow of Our Bones (Paperback)

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The Very Marrow of Our Bones, by Christine Higdon is a debut novel that spans 40-plus years in the lives of the Parsons family.  In 1967, two women disappear from the town of Fraser Arm outside of Vancouver, British Columbia - Bette Parsons is the married mother of five and Alice McPhee is her neighbor.   Bette’s 10-year-old daughter, Lulu (Louise), finds a note addressed to her father that reads, “Wally, I will not live in a tarpaper shack for the rest of my life.  Love, Bette.”  Lulu tells no one about the note.  Subsequent investigations yield no results and the town and families are left wondering if the two disappearances involve foul-play, or were intentional on the parts of the women, or are even related.
The events leading up to Bette’s disappearance, along with the stories of her childrens’ lives in the aftermath are told in randomly chaptered time periods and from different points of view.  Extended relatives and friends become family as everyone struggles with the hole left by Bette.  The observations of the the local preacher’s daughter, Doris Tenpenny, are particularly astute and she becomes one of the family’s strongest allies when her instincts about another neighbor send off alarms.  And when the family comes together for an event 40 years later, the emotional impact on each grown child is apparent and diverse.  
A recent Kirkus Review states, “There are gaspworthy moments from the beginning to the very last chapter” and calls the book,   “An ambitious debut novel that will make you cry, cringe, and laugh.”  I wholehearterly agree – this is a great read!

— From Karen McCue

Description


Defiance, faith, and triumph in a heartrending novel about daughters and mothers

On a miserable November day in 1967, two women disappear from a working-class town on the Fraser River. The community is thrown into panic, with talk of drifters and murderous husbands. But no one can find a trace of Bette Parsons or Alice McFee. Even the egg seller, Doris Tenpenny, a woman to whom everyone tells their secrets, hears nothing.

Ten-year-old Lulu Parsons discovers something, though: a milk-stained note her mother, Bette, left for her father on the kitchen table. Wally, it says, I will not live in a tarpaper shack for the rest of my life . . .

Lulu tells no one, and months later she buries the note in the woods. At the age of ten, she starts running -- and forgetting -- lurching through her unraveled life, using the safety of solitude and detachment until, at fifty, she learns that she is not the only one who carries a secret.

Hopeful, lyrical, comedic, and intriguingly and lovingly told, The Very Marrow of Our Bones explores the isolated landscapes and thorny attachments bred by childhood loss and buried secrets.

About the Author


Christine Higdon is a writer, editor, and graphic designer. She was shortlisted for the 2011 Marina Nemat Award and for the 2016 CBC Creative Nonfiction Prize. Daughter of a Newfoundlander and a British Columbian, Christine lives in Mimico, Ontario, where she hooks rugs, worries about the bees, and longs for either ocean. This is her first novel.
Product Details
ISBN: 9781770414167
ISBN-10: 1770414169
Publisher: ECW Press
Publication Date: April 3rd, 2018
Pages: 488
Language: English
 

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