A stunningly beautiful, elegaic account of a small community in Northern Ontario, where everyone is bereaved in some kind of way, and is coping as best they can. Zachary is at the heart of the story, dealing with his mother's suicide. He makes friends with Eva, whose parents died in a place crash. It sounds depressing but it is a story about resilience, coping and survival, written by a master of the craft.
Our house sat in a clearing beside a shallow, weed-clogged pool of water which my father called 'the pond' but which my mother - who felt no need to name it otherwise - called 'the swamp'. Its water was tea-bag brown and smelt of rotting leaves and goose shit and slippery dead things. The tamaracks and black spruces surrounding it appeared in constant retreat from the brackish waters, and those which hadn't escaped them stood naked and needle-less in the shallows, as gaunt and pale as pillars of salt.