Rachel is a young single mother living with her son, Tristan, on a lake that borders the unchannelled north — remote, nearly inhospitable. She does what she has to do to keep them alive. But soon, and unexpectedly, Tristan will have to live alone, his youth unprotected and rough. The wild, open place that is all he knows will be overrun by strangers — strangers inhabiting the lodge that has replaced his home, strangers who make him fight, talk, and even love, when he doesn't want to. Ravenous and unrelenting, Shot-Blue is a book of first love and first loss.
About the authors
Rachel is a young single mother living with her son, Tristan, on a lake that borders the unchanneled north – remote, nearly inhospitable. She does what she has to to keep them alive. But soon, and unexpectedly, Tristan will have to live alone, his youth unprotected and rough, even brutal, mirroring the wild open place that is his only home, and that will be overrun by strangers — strangers inhabiting the lodge that has replaced his home, strangers that make him fight, or talk, or even love, when he doesn’t want to.
A resonant book of first love, first loss, then second love, Shot-Blue brings to life the dance of consciousness, how in mind and heart we do not exist alone on our own terms.
Shot-Blue is that rarest species, a genuinely wise novel. Its characters are at once too lonely, and insufficiently alone; their landscape feels both tender and indifferent, god-haunted and abandoned. This is a truly exceptional and compelling work, and in that way, its own variety of joy.'
- Rivka Galchen, author of Atmospheric Disturbances
'Jesse Ruddock understands the weight of things that cannot be said aloud. A sensitive book about lives lived at the edge of society, in the shadow of an idyllic panorama, given voice only in the silence of adolescence.'
- Jenny Erpenbeck, author of The End of Days
'Stunning and just so gracefully told. Ruddock's landscape and characters are told by heart and her fierce and beautiful language makes you feel it.'
- Naja Marie Aidt, author of Rock, Paper, Scissors
'[A] searing debut ... [Shot-Blue] explores the depths of human emotion and the limits we struggle to overcome. A moving, lyrical novel that explores the emotional pain of hardship on children.'
Beautiful and moodyThis is one of the most splendid books I’ve read in the past year. I don’t think I have been as charmed by a book since I read And the Birds Rained Down, last year. It’s one of those books that is quietly beautiful and seeps into you.
This book is not about the plot – it’s about emotions and imagery. It’s as if Ruddock is actually sharing a painting. Those aren’t words - they’re broad brushstrokes. This isn’t just a book - it’s a great Canadian landscape, dark and moody. The book reflects this in how it’s written - it feels chapter-less and seems to drift quietly from character to character. The writing is beautiful and lyrical. I found myself not only unable to put the book down, but also unable to read it without a pen ready to underline lovely thoughts and imaginative descriptions.
If you decide to read this book, I encourage you to take your time, enjoy the prose, absorb the mood, and give yourself plenty of time each time you pick it up. It’s a beautiful read and feels very Canadian.