Over Our Heads is a novel that weaves together the histories of two very different half-sisters who return home to deal with the aftermath that occurs when the grandmother who raised them dies. Emma, a punk band singer and poet turned pet psychic, and Rachel, an actuary with an interest in astronomy, both carry the remnants of childhoods overshadowed by issues of bullying, abandonment, alienation and fear. In the raw terrain of profound loss, the two sisters struggle through the stages of grief - each in their own way. The past merges with the present, as through the process of emptying the family home, each woman is taken back to their childhoods in 1970s Toronto and Vancouver, where they navigated a social climate rife with racism, homophobia and marginalization of the mentally ill and cognitively disabled. Over Our Heads is a story about kindness, compassion - and the lack of it, on both a societal and individual level. It's about growing up wounded, and the generational legacy of suffering such wounds can create. It unearths the painful family dynamics that can arise from our perception of memory, and how these dynamics colour both who we are, and who we believe others to be. It's a story of acceptance, forgiveness, redemption, and the beauty that can be found in the imperfection inherent in being human.
"'Hindsight. The only way to see clearly.' This proverb illuminates the genesis of the life lessons that poet Andrea Thompson unfolds in her page-turner -- and new-leaf-turning --debut novel. Over Our Heads is the poignant yet sprightly story of a family troubled by abandonment, accident, addiction, adoption, and death. Centreing on the fraught relationship between Rachel -- a cool-and-calculating actuary -- and her half-sister, Emma, a poet songstress gifted with ESP, the novel moves between the "now" of funeral arrangements and the girlhood "then" of Etch-A-Sketch and Easy-Bake Oven, The Wonder Woman and Harry Belafonte. Thompson orchestrates a wondrous collage of Ziggy Stardust and the Dalai Lama, urban parks and Aboriginal medicines, home renos and black holes, all to reveal that divisions of gender, class, race, and ethnicity are, truly, only skin-deep. Thompson writes with a poet's careful eye and a novelist's open heart."- George Elliott Clarke, Poet Laureate of Toronto (2012-15)"A rare novel, by turns poetic, psychic, and down-to-earth, always wise and engaging, Over Our Heads affirms "the holiness of the heart's affections" and will remain long in the reader's memory."- Elizabeth Greene, author of Moving and Understories"Over Our Heads is an immersive, elegant novel about two fascinating women who grapple with complex personal histories that exceed even their own understanding but which, nevertheless, they both strive to honour. This novel asks us, "What can be made of grief?" Andrea Thompson answers this question, singularly, with great wisdom, heart and lyrical beauty." - Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer, author of All The Broken Things