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Fiction Literary

Tide Road

by (author) Valerie Compton

Goose Lane Editions
Initial publish date
Mar 2011
Literary, Contemporary Women
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2011
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    May 2011
    List Price

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Shortlisted, Thomas Head Raddall Award

When Stella disappears, leaving her toddler and husband behind, her mother Sonia, a widowed farm wife and former lighthouse keeper, struggles to face the possibility that her daughter may not have slipped through the ice. She may have been pushed.

In a intensely memorable narrative with the deceptive pull of an undertow, Sonia's past, a flotsam of lost dreams, bruised hopes, buried love, wells up to meet her. Confronted with her own history of choices and failures, Sonia is compelled to revise her perception of her daughter's life and dramatically change the way she lives her own.

Compton is a deft draughtsman of character, whose powers of description, timing, and astounding revelation coalesce into a splendidly nuanced account of the unguessed-at legacies of a life shaped by choices.

About the author

Born and raised in Prince Edward Island, Valerie Compton now lives in Halifax, where she writes and teaches fiction writing. Her stories have appeared in numerous publications, including the New Quarterly, the Malahat Review, and Riddle Fence. Her articles have appeared in the Globe and Mail, the National Post, Gourmet Magazine, the Ottawa Citizen, and Quill & Quire.

Valerie Compton's profile page


  • Short-listed, Thomas Head Raddall Award

Editorial Reviews

"With a perfect sense of timing, Compton paces the story and the unveiling of memories in a way that keeps readers interested. Her prose is delightful and evocative."


"Valerie Compton is the antidote to wilful amnesia, an astonishingly assured new voice delivering the truth with a fierce economy. Read her and remember."

Richard Cumyn

"A brilliant debut novel, Tide Road demands the reader's attention. What makes it so strong isn't only the exceptional quality of the writing (virtually every page is punctuated with memorable lines), but the insight into why women stay in abusive relationships, how memory and loss of identity work against them and how desperate they become to leave."

<i>Telegraph Journal</I>

"A stark and beautiful story."

<i>Quill & Quire</i>

"A supple and complex meditation on how we grapple with the unknown. The sensual vitality of Valerie Compton's prose calls to mind the writings of Lisa Moore or E. Annie Proulx."

Catherine Bush

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