Read: January 2017
A novel of absence and adolescence by the author of the award-winning “The Town That Drowned.”
It’s 1977. Seventeen-year-old Violet is left behind by her parents to manage their busy roadside antique business for the summer. Her restless older brother, Bliss, has disappeared, leaving home without warning, and her parents are off searching for clues. Violet is haunted by her brother’s absence while trying to cope with her new responsibilities. Between visiting a local hermit, who makes twig furniture for the shop, and finding a way to land the contents of the coveted Vaughn estate, Violet acts out with her summer boyfriend, Dean, and wonders about the mysterious boneyard. But what really keeps her up at night are thoughts of Bliss’s departure and the white deer, which only she has seen.
“All the Things We Leave Behind” is about remembrance and attachment, about what we collect and what we leave behind. In this highly affecting novel, Nason explores the permeability of memory and the sometimes confusing bonds of human emotion.
Big thank you to Goose Lane for sending me a copy of this book for review! I had seen Riel’s debut book, The Town That Drowned, on quite a few blogs and was very intrigued by her work, so when Goose Lane approached me to read her latest, I couldn’t refuse!
This was a very nice book about love and loss, sibling and parental love, finding yourself in the wake of losing someone you loved dearly, and just growing up in general. It’s really hard for me to find the words as to what I thought about this book. I loved the Canadian-ness of it, the atmosphere – I wanted to visit the Purple Barn, see the cottage, sit by the creek. The whole story was just so beautifully written that my heart broke a few times while reading, and it brought me to tears in the end. I loved all of the flashbacks to Vi’s past with her brother and I looked forward to every phone call from her father, sitting in anticipation on pins and needles.
I’m so happy that this book was written by a Canadian author – it really made me love my home country even more and long for more Canadian writers to pen books like this. All I know now is that I’ll be looking for phantom deer in the night, looking for signs in the great Canadian wilderness.