Synopses & Reviews
"A search for the remote island village of Sointula, a 'place of harmony' on the northeast coast of Vancouver Island, drives Canadian novelist Gaston's latest. Spurred by the death of her first, long-ago lover, Claude, Evelyn Poole, the unhappy wife of the mayor of Oakville, Ontario, flees her husband and their small city to look for her grown son, Tom. She crosses the continent and, fighting hunger and prescription drug withdrawal, undertakes a dangerous, improbable kayak journey to Malcolm's Island, teaming up with drifting retired high school teacher Peter Gore, who is trying unsuccessfully to become a travel writer. Weakened and starved for civilization, Evelyn and Peter begin to lose themselves in the towering wilderness, as Gaston tracks their unreliable impressions. Avoiding clich or easy nature-worship, Gaston (The Cameraman) is that rare writer who can peel back the deepest fears of Nature (abandonment, pain, futility) and find a vision of vehement, imperfect beauty." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Summoned to the deathbed of a long-ago lover, Evelyn is overcome by emotion. Off her medications, she impulsively steals a kayak and embarks on a quest that takes her deep into the Canadian wilderness in order to find her lost son, Tom. On the way to Sointula, a remote fishing village off Vancouver Island, she gains a traveling companion, Peter Gore, a writer working on the quintessential book on the region. Stymied by illness, writer's block, and whiskey, Peter makes an unlikely and unreliable shipmate and paramour. Tom, the survivor of a gunshot wound that slowed his speech and his drug-dealing, finds solace in his isolated life, collecting data for a whale researcher. As Evelyn and Peter approach, Tom waits for the whales' irregular visits to the water's edge. Like the novels of David Malouf and Jonathan Raban, Sointula is a celebration of place, a novel where the landscape comes as fully alive as its memorable characters.