Carol Bruneau, author of six acclaimed works of fiction (most recently, These Good Hands), brings her finely honed voice to 12 new stories about shifting concepts of Nova Scotian identity.
In "The Race," a war bride's remarkable life trajectory unfolds as she competes in an international swim marathon in the Northwest Arm. Strain erupts between a Haligonian couple in "Burning Times," while they struggle to keep track of one another, both physically and emotionally, on an Italian vacation. In "Polio Beach," cousins gather oceanside over the will of a recently deceased aunt who once saved one of them from drowning.
Writing with empathy, humour, and linguistic precision, Bruneau follows characters who find themselves connected to Nova Scotia by birth, through attempts at escape and new beginnings, or as a temporary resting place, always carrying with them their own idiosyncratic and complex definitions of "home."
Her exceptional prose reveals how much there is to discover in the everyday. These stories empathetically follow characters who struggle with loneliness and loss even as they experience joy. "If My Feet Don't Touch the Ground" blends birdsong with laughter and tears as a mother says goodbye to her son in Berlin. "Doves" takes place in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where a nun struggles to help a man who asks her to bury a dead pigeon in a shoebox. To find humor in any of these stories, readers will need to allow for it to be there, to make a little space for lightness. Bruneau does not settle for cliché. Her prose is accessible and lean as she flits into her characters? lives.
Bruneau is a master. We should know this by now, but A Bird on Every Tree is a powerful reminder.
In A Bird on Every Tree we run through a wide range of 12 beautiful and genuine stories, all connected through the considerable pull of Nova Scotia.
Carol Bruneau's collection of short stories A Bird on Every Tree gloriously explores the complex relationship people have with the place they call home.