El Salvador, 2005: a group of Canadian human-rights activists are taken hostage by a former revolutionary fighter who demands that a new gold mine stops production. For Danielle Byrd, the situation is all too familiar, as she was there twenty years previously as an embedded journalist with a guerrilla faction during the country’s civil war. Now, her daughter Aida must herself travel to the scarred landscape and choose her allies carefully if she wants to see her mother alive once more.
With character-driven action and imagery reminiscent of Georges Arnaud’s The Wages of Fear and a complex plot that recalls John Le Carré’s The Constant Gardener, Open Pit explores the legacy of violent conflict in a complex, shifting present.
Praise for Open Pit
"There's no question that Pigeon knows of what she writes, and she cares deeply about human rights and complicated environmental issues... Open Pit has the saving grace of being about something- the difficulties of indigenous people who must confront the combined power of their own governments in league with Canadian mining companies."
~ Cherie Thiessen, BC Bookworld
"Open Pit contains brutality, violence, destruction of trust and seeming collaboration, all painted in many more shades of grey than a typical political novel. When personal goals do not fully match political goals, things get murky, and motivation and dramatic irony muddy the waters further."
~ J.C. Sutcliffe, Slightly Bookist
"Pigeon's exemplary novel is truly worthy of a chorus of cheerleading critics and discerning readers."
~ Wayne Cunningham, subTerrain
About the author
Marguerite Pigeon is a former journalist and traveller turned writer of fiction and poetry. In 2001 she lived for several months near the Honduran-Salvadoran border working with a local indigenous organization, an experience that became the inspiration for Open Pit. She later attended UBC’s Creative Writing MFA program. Since graduating, her short stories and poems have appeared in journals throughout Canada and internationally, and her first book of poetry, Inventory (Anvil 2009), was nominated for the Gerald Lampert Award. Originally from Blind River, Ontario, she currently lives in Vancouver.
Open Pit is her first novel.