One hot, lonely summer in the Orange Free State of South Africa, feisty Ruthie Blackburn finds herself at odds with everyone around her. She squirms under the watchful eye of her nanny, Miriam, and bristles at the neighbour’s gardener’s boy, Sip, who follows her everywhere and is her only friend. But mostly she misses her distracted widower father who is more absent each day.
Ruthie runs reckless through the bleary, dull days of summer until the monotony is interrupted by the arrival of two guests from the big city. The events of this one weekend will alter the course of Ruthie’s adolescence and lead to a devastating tragedy. Set against the shifting political tensions of the late 1970s and written in prose that is both poetic and evocative, Ruthie and Sip powerfully captures a young girl’s sudden end of innocence.
About the author
Méira Cook is the award-winning author of the novels The House on Sugarbush Road, which won the McNally Robinson Book of the Year Award, and Nightwatching, which won the Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction. She has also published five poetry collections, most recently Monologue Dogs, which was shortlisted for the 2016 Lansdowne Prize for Poetry and for the 2016 McNally Robinson Book of the Year Award. She won the CBC Poetry Prize in 2007 and the inaugural Walrus Poetry Prize in 2012. In 2011 she served as Writer in Residence at the University of Manitoba’s Centre for Creative Writing and Oral Culture, and was the 2013–14 Writer in Residence at the Winnipeg Public Library. Born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa, she now lives in Winnipeg.