ON THE SHORES OF DARKNESS, THERE IS LIGHT BY CORDELIA STRUBE
ECW PRESS (EBOOK), 2016
I got this arc from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
Harriet is eleven, going on thirty. Her mixed media paintings are a source of wonder to her younger brother, Irwin, but an unmitigated horror to the panoply of insufficiently grown up grown-ups who surround her. She plans to run away to Algonquin Park, hole up in a cabin like Tom Thomson and paint trees; and so, to fund her escape, she runs errands for the seniors who inhabit the Shangrila, the decrepit apartment building that houses her fractured family.
Determined, resourceful, and a little reckless, Harriet tries to navigate the clueless adults around her, dumpster dives for the flotsam and jetsam that fuels her art, and hopes to fathom her complicated feelings for Irwin who suffers from hydrocephalus. On the other hand, Irwin’s love for Harriet is not conflicted at all. She’s his compass. But when fate intervenes, it’s Irwin who must untangle the web of the human heart.
Masterful and mordantly funny, Strube is at the top of her considerable form in this deliciously subversive story of love and redemption.
‘THERE’S A BABY stuck in a car’. Harriet waves anxiously at the crowd of parents watching T-Ball. They don’t notice. She runs back to the SUV, across grass turned to straw. It hasn’t rained in six weeks. Smog chokes the city.
WHAT I THOUGHT
On The Shores of Darkness, There Is Light is one of the funniest, touching and saddest books I’ve read in ages. Harriet is a brilliant character. I loved her so much. She’s one tough cookie. I loved how mature and resilient she is. She lit up every page. There are some really funny and tender moments in the book. Her character is a joy to read. I loved Harrier from the moment she appeared in the book. The book is tinged with sadness as well. I loved getting to know Irwin a lot more in the second half of the book. This book blends comedy and tragedy in brilliant ways. Harriet is an amazing character. I loved the elderly residents at the Shangrila. This book is a delight.