Mere’s young life is confined to the wind and water, the boat that she lives on docking only long enough to stop at the grocery store or visit the library, but never long enough to take out any books. That would mean having a library card, and a library card would mean revealing your name on a government form.
Mere, her mother, Faye, and Mark, the mysterious teenage runaway who shares their boat, seem destined to sail around the Great Lakes forever, navigating the Persephone through the deep waters, stopping in Toronto twice a year to pick up envelopes of cash left with the dockmaster. Faye is a fugitive, still pursued for her part in the violent one-year anniversary events marking Chicago’s 1968 “Days of Rage”—a seminal student protest against the Vietnam war. Now Merril, Mere’s father, has suddenly appeared on the boat after many years. The authorities are looking for him and Faye is his ticket to freedom. But, in a desperate bid for her own adolescent freedom, Mere makes a choice that will change everything.
Mere is a wonderfully electric novel about the inexorable bond between mothers and daughters, written by two of Canada’s most talented writers—themselves mother and daughter. Rich in its allegorical and sociological strands, it reaches into the Greek myth of Persephone; it explores a woman’s primeval need to protect her child; and it lays bare the explosive events of a touchstone period in our history. A novel of choices and consequences, betrayal and atonement, Mere builds lyrically to a shattering climax, an ending that haunts long after the last page is turned.
About the authors
Esta Spalding's first book, Carrying Place, was nominated for the Gerald R. Lampert Award and her second, Anchoress, was a finalist for the Canadian Booksellers Association Libris Award for Best Specialty Book of the Year. Her third book, Lost August, won the Pat Lowther Memorial Award, and her fourth, The Wife's Account, was shortlisted for the Pat Lowther Memorial Award. Esta lives in Guelph, Ontario.
Linda Spalding is the author of the bestselling The Follow. She is editor of Brick magazine and lives in Toronto with her husband, Michael Ondaatje.