This intimate novel follows wannabe writer Casey's growth into adulthood, her search for love and the fulfillment of her dream. The pointed observations about the uncertainty of a young woman after the recent death of her mother, her love-life and the pretensions of writers are striking and punctuated with humour.
Oscar examines me as we walk. He's much looser than he was with the kids or at the signing table. He's looking at me with mirth, as if I'm already saying something funny, as if we have a history of little jokes between us.
'Just so you know, I'm a bit scared of trees,' he says.
There are trees everywhere. It's an arboretum. They all have small brass name tags nailed into them. We're in the maple grove: Korean maple, fullmoon maple, painted maple.
'Is this some kind of exposure therapy?'
'It's the holes in the trees, mostly. One time when I was a kid I was sitting on the limb of an oak and I see this hole and I peer in and next thing I know I'm on the ground. Just bam. I peer in' —he makes his face like Jasper's - 'and then I'm staring straight up at the sky and my mother is screaming from the house. She's not running toward me or anything. She's just screaming.'
'An owl sank his beak into my forehead.' He stops to show me. There's a deep divot just below his hairline.