From one of our most critically acclaimed and beloved storytellers comes a sweeping novel set on board the Morning Light, a Nova Scotian merchant ship sailing through the south pacific in 1912.
Kay and Thea are half-sisters, separated in age by almost twenty years, but deeply attached. When their stern father dies, Thea returns to Nova Scotia for her long-promised marriage to the captain of the Morning Light. But she cannot abandon her orphaned young sister, so Kay too embarks on a life-changing voyage to the other side of the world.
At the heart of The Difference is a crystallizing moment in Micronesia: Thea, still mourning a miscarriage, forms a bond with a young boy from a remote island and takes him on board as her own son. Over time, the repercussions of this act force Kay, who considers the boy her brother, to examine her own assumptions--which are increasingly at odds with those of society around her--about what is forgivable and what is right.
Inspired by a true story, Endicott shows us a now-vanished world in all its wonder, and in its darkness, prejudice and difficulty, too. She also brilliantly illuminates our present time through Kay's examination of the idea of "difference"--between people, classes, continents, cultures, customs and species. The Difference is a breathtaking novel by a writer with an astonishing ability to bring past worlds vividly to life while revealing the moral complexity of our own.
MARINA ENDICOTT's novel Good to a Fault won the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best Book, Canada and the Caribbean, and was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. Her next, The Little Shadows, was short-listed for the Governor General's award and long-listed for the Giller Prize, as was her last book, Close to Hugh. Endicott lives in Alberta most of the time.
WINNER OF THE 2020 ROBERT KROETSCH CITY OF EDMONTON BOOK PRIZE
“One of those very, very rare books: It breaks your heart (over and over), is heavy with sorrow and has no neat endings or answers—and yet, it also opens you up to wonder, making you yearn to know more, see more and love more.” —The Globe and Mail
“There is so much in this book to linger over. . . . [A] novel to return to again and again. . . . [A] quiet, elegant triumph.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Endicott artfully combines a bracing world voyage and the equally transformative journey of a young woman discovering and honouring her genuine nature. With her passion for all the creatures and cultures she encounters, Kay shines as a timely embodiment of the solace of human connection across time and space.” —Booklist (starred review)
“The Difference is such an immersive reading experience, the kind that makes one think, and think again . . . . I loved being at sea with Kay and Thea, and found it hard to part from them. How movingly the novel considers the otherness between people, between the world and us, between human and all other life. . . . Its boldness has a deep humility. Marina Endicott allows her characters to exist without being afraid of their (and our) moral dilemmas and failures, or the gap between our intentions and our understanding. She also writes about goodness so well—so beautifully and joyfully. . . . I feel as if I could close my eyes and still be at sea with these characters. A wonderful, brilliant book." —Madeleine Thien, Giller Prize-winning author of Do Not Say We Have Nothing
"A beautiful book, so lovely in its graveness, and in its comedy … The cut of the prose is so keen and the happenings are so finely wrought that it contorts where it can't help but contort, around the places where unanswerable grief comes into our lives." —Helen Oyeyemi
PRAISE FOR MARINA ENDICOTT'S CLOSE TO HUGH:
“Delightful, tragic, gloriously elegiac and riddled with puns—Close to Hugh is just like life, only so much more beautiful for being art.” —Lynn Coady, author of Strange Heaven
“I love Marina Endicott's writing. I adore the exquisite, unfussy grace of her language, the dexterity and range of her storytelling. Close to Hugh is slyly humorous, delightfully and cheekily observant of contemporary manners, and most importantly, filled with warmth and generosity. It was an absolute thrill to disappear into this book, to spend time with each and every character.” “Christos Tsiolkas, author of The Slap
“Oddly original and charming . . . the novel addresses huge and general questions about the meaning of life and the universe with remarkable specificity.” “The Globe and Mail
“[A] pun-filled examination of the ways art and life rub up against each other . . . a joyful four-door, intergenerational farce.” “National Post
“Ambitious . . . watching two people discover each other after having been denied happiness for so long is a delight. . . . a genuine page-turner.” “The Vancouver Sun