Paul Unger's son Stephen is dead, found face down in a farmer's sodden field after a drunken teenage party'and a terrible fight with his father. Paul, estranged from his wife, Lise, ambivalent about his daughter Sue's recent marriage, and drowning slowly in his own grief and guilt, finds the solitude he craves in a rundown bee-keeping farm on the edge of the prairie town. Now he is confronted by the sudden appearance of Nicole, Stephen's former girlfriend, and Sky, the little boy she introduces as Paul's grandson. In a spare, subtle and moving portrait of grief and salvation, Paul must come to terms with the most devastating loss any of us can experience.
Set in Manitoba and then Montana, See the Child is a novel alive with western small town life. A wedding reception for a young couple hums with powerful undercurrents of unfulfilled desire and past hurts, fueled by drink and the sultry summer mood. A meeting between Paul and Wyatt, Nicole's new boyfriend, in the gun room/shrine of Wyatt's Montana home, glows with menace and dark humor, as Wyatt reveals his philosophy on life and love.
David Bergen's first novel, A Year of Lesser, won the Manitoba Book Award, and was named a New York Times "Notable Book of the Year" in 1997. Critic Philip Marchand has compared Bergen's writing to that of Raymond Carver, the acclaimed American short story writer, but Bergen's voice is very much his own, fresh and engaging.
See the Child is an elegant novel, sensual in its description of the relationships between men and women, its dialogue crackling with emotional tension. An extraordinary story of ordinary lives, See the Child echoes in the mind and heart.