I picked up this book sort of at random from the library and I was pleasantly surprised. This novel is both touching and interesting. Set in Toronto, it centres on the lives of two middle-aged neighbours: a man who tragically lost his family and a recently widowed woman living with her daughter. Ismail’s story is heart wrenching; he lost his baby girl when he left her in the car and she died. It’s every parent’s nightmare and as a new parent I was deeply affected by his story. Twenty years on, this novel offers Ismail redemption as he forges a new life, shaking off the ashes of his old one.
The themes of the novel are moving on and connecting with one another. Just as with Ismail, Celia needs to move on after being widowed and discover there is life after the death of her husband. Their stories intersect and the result is a gentle story of reconnection and renewal.
I learned after reading that the novel won the 2012 LAMBDA Literary Award for Best Lesbian Fiction. It should be noted for those looking for lesbian literature that while the book does feature two lesbian characters and the plot does touch on their struggles, the main characters and the main story is heterosexual.