Harriet is 11 going on 30. Her mixed-media art is a source of wonder to her younger brother, Irwin, but an unmitigated horror to the panoply of insufficiently grown-up grown-ups who surround her. She plans to run away to Algonquin Park, hole up in a cabin like Tom Thomson and paint trees; and so, to fund her escape, she runs errands for the seniors who inhabit the Shangrila, the decrepit apartment building that houses her fractured family.
Determined, resourceful, and a little reckless, Harriet tries to navigate the clueless adults around her, dumpster dives for the flotsam and jetsam that fuels her art, and attempts to fathom her complicated feelings for Irwin, who suffers from hydrocephalus. On the other hand, Irwin’s love for Harriet is not conflicted at all. She’s his compass. But Irwin himself must untangle the web of the human heart.
Masterful and piercingly funny, Strube is at the top of her considerable form in this deliciously subversive story of love and revelation.
Cordelia Strube is an accomplished playwright and the author of nine critically acclaimed novels, including Alex & Zee, Teaching Pigs to Sing, and Lemon. Winner of the CBC literary competition and a Toronto Arts Foundation Award, she has been nominated for the Governor General's Award, the Trillium Book Award, the WH Smith/Books in Canada First Novel Award, the Prix Italia, and long-listed for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. A two-time finalist for ACTRA's Nellie Award celebrating excellence in Canadian broadcasting, she is also a three-time nominee for the ReLit Award.
“A masterful blend of comedy and tragedy . . . The tapestry of humanity that Strube presents is richly detailed and profoundly moving.” — Quill & Quire, starred review
“Strube is the dark horse favourite to succeed Alice Munro as a chronicler of melancholy stories about teen girls.” — Toronto Life
“Strube creates an entire world of love and loss, humour and heartbreak . . . The writing, on a line-by-line basis, serves as a reminder that Strube is one of Canada’s more expressive and creative prose stylists. It is, at heart, a uniquely intimate exploration of the perilous fragility of the human body, and the indomitable strength of the human soul.” — Toronto Star
“Quietly elegiac and despairing, the novel keeps true to Strube’s singular vision.” — Maclean’s
“I also loved Cordelia Strube's On the Shores of Darkness, There Is Light, which broke my heart, but was just as funny as it was sad.” — The Walrus