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Fiction Literary

The Observer

A Novel

by (author) Marina Endicott

Knopf Canada
Initial publish date
Sep 2023
Literary, Psychological, Family Life
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2023
    List Price

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A spare and powerful new novel from the award-winning author of Good to a Fault and The Little Shadows.

When Julia arrives in Medway, accompanying her beloved Hardy on his first posting as an RCMP constable, she tries to explain her new life to old friends from the city, but can find no shared vocabulary to convey this rural reality, let alone police life. As Hardy disappears into long days at work, Julia takes a job as editor of the local newspaper, the Observer. Interviewing people to compose a view of the town each week, she gathers knowledge of the community’s surface joys and sorrows; meanwhile, Hardy is immersed in violence and loss, and Julia can only witness his increasing exhaustion. At first this new life together is an adventure, but as in all the best stories, time darkens and deepens it.
Grounded in Marina Endicott’s own experience in Mayerthorpe, Alberta, The Observer is an essential story from one of our most beloved storytellers. Endicott writes with the sure pacing and insight of a master novelist, piecing haunting details into a quietly devastating revelation of the fragility of life and law in a tightknit community.

About the author

Marina Endicott’s second novel, Good to a Fault, was winner of the regional Commonwealth Writers’ Prize Best Book Award, Canada and the Caribbean, a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, and one of The Globe and Mail’s Top 100 Books of 2008. Her debut novel, Open Arms, was a finalist for the 2001 Amazon/Books in Canada First Novel Award and broadcast on CBC Radio’s Between the Covers. Endicott’s stories have been featured in Coming Attractions and shortlisted for the Journey Prize and the Western Magazine Awards. She was born in Golden, BC and grew up in Vancouver, Nova Scotia and Toronto. She has been an actor, director, playwright and editor, and was Dramaturge of the Saskatchewan Playwrights Centre for many years. She lives in Edmonton.

Marina Endicott's profile page

Editorial Reviews

“I'm still marveling at this novel’s disorienting juxtaposition of natural beauty, familial tenderness and everyday terror. It’s the story of a marriage forged inside a crucible of unspoken trauma—extraordinary, affecting and unforgettable.” —Lynn Coady, winner of the Scotiabank Giller Prize for Hellgoing
“An in-depth portrait of a young RCMP officer and his family—the debilitating trauma the job exacts, the silence that accompanies the damage, the soul-quaking isolation. It’s also a testament to love, loyalty, duty and patience; the desire to make things right; and the power of bearing witness. Endicott’s prose is clean, light, swift. Readers will leave this book altered, more compassionate, with a deeper understanding of how power works, and how it fails us.” —Lisa Moore

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