A historical librarian gets a chance to catalogue the books at a remote island home for a summer in Northern Ontario and encounters locals, free time to figure out her life, and a pet bear.
What I Liked
This book was given to me back in my teens, a gift of quality literature as it had just won the Governor General’s Award for fiction. I knew nothing about it as I started to read it. And I was relatively shocked to see “high literature” include bestiality and graphic descriptions of oral sex performed by the bear on the main character. The historical parts were awesome, as was the descriptions of the island and the passage of the summer.
What I Didn’t Like
I found the romanticization of the relationship with the bear a bit odd, as was the depersonalization of her other sexual partners during the summer. I also felt there were gaps in the ending — we saw what she intended to do, not what she actually did once she was back in Toronto.
The Bottom Line
Bestiality is a strange theme for an award-winner.
Suzannah is a mediator — she helps ghosts move on from this plane to the next. But when she’s not embracing her sixth sense, she’s earning money as a staff babysitter at a hotel/resort and dreaming about Jesse who haunts her current home. Then she meets trouble in the form of spoiled brat Jack who can also see ghosts, but doesn’t know that ghosts are actually real and is instead three steps away from a nervous breakdown. Suze has to help him figure out his own role with ghosts, at the same time that she tries to figure out more of the mystery with Jesse’s past life.
John Cuddy gets asked by a friend to look into what appears to be an open-and-shut case — a young impoverished black man tries to get ahead at university, dates a white co-ed, and then after she turns up dead, he confesses to the crime while holding the murder weapon. Everyone thinks he’s guilty, including him. But Cuddy finds a strange group of people involved — a whacked psychiatrist with strange ideas, an elderly fitness nut, a sports fan, seductive patients, and sundry lovers.