Author(s): Elizabeth Hay
In a small prairie school in 1929, Connie Flood helps a backward student, Michael Graves, learn how to read. Observing them and darkening their lives is the principal, Parley Burns, whose strange behaviour culminates in an attack so disturbing its repercussions continue to the present day. Connie's niece, Anne, tells the story. Impelled by curiosity about her dynamic, adventurous aunt and her more conventional mother, she revisits Connie's past and her mother's broken childhood. In the process she unravels the enigma of Parley Burns and the mysterious, and unrelated, deaths of two young girls.
'A highly accomplished and resourceful writer' Paul Binding, Spectator. 'The villain, Principal Parley Burns, who moves through the school 'like mustard gas in subtle form', is one of the most memorable villains I've ever encountered' Laura Wilson, Guardian. 'Unforgettable characters, in particular the brave, resolute Connie Flood' Jessica Mann, Literary Review.
Elizabeth Hay is the author of the Scotiabank Giller Prize-winning novel Late Nights On Air as well as three other award-winning works of fiction. Formerly a radio broadcaster, she has spent time in Mexico and New York City, and now lives in Ottawa.