These Good Hands

These Good Hands

Carol Bruneau

Fiction / Cultural / Canada

Set in the early autumn of 1943, the These Good Hands interweaves the biography of French sculptor Camille Claudel and the story of the nurse who cares for her during the final days of her thirty-year incarceration in France's Montdevergues Asylum. Biographers have suggested that Claudel survived her long internment by writing letters, few of which left the asylum because of her strict sequestration; in Bruneau's novel, these letters are reimagined in a series, penned to her younger self, the sculptor, popularly known as Rodin's tragic mistress. They trace the trajectory of her career in Belle Époque Paris and her descent into the stigmatizing illness that destroyed it. The nurse's story is revealed in her journal, which describes her labours and the ethical dilemma she eventually confronts. Through her letters, Camille relives the limits of her perseverance, and through her journal, Nurse confronts the limits of hers; these limits include the faith these women have in...
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A Circle on the Surface

A Circle on the Surface

Carol Bruneau

Fiction / Cultural / Canada

It's 1943. Enman and Una Greene are newly married. Each is haunted by their respective pasts, and each harbours secrets. They have hopes of a happy life together—though they have little idea how to create such a life. Enman brings Una to his childhood home in rural Barrein, Nova Scotia, where he hopes they will stay. Una is restless and feeling increasingly trapped, and longs for the city life she once had. Una meets a mysterious man, and then a body washes up on a beach. There are rumours of German sailors roaming the dunes. When the Greenes receive the news they have been waiting for, and that Una is convinced will save her and her marriage, she she begins to unravel in ways neither is prepared for. From critically acclaimed and bestselling author Carol Bruneau comes an achingly honest portrait of a marriage in a time of war—and an examination of how it is that we come to know ourselves.
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Glass Voices

Glass Voices

Carol Bruneau

Fiction / Cultural / Canada

Surviving the Halifax Explosion is one thing, but how do Lucy Caines and her wayward husband, Harry, a couple who lose everything to the event's horrors, make peace with their grief? Rebuilding on the rustic shores of Halifax's Northwest Arm, steps from where the shaft of Mont Blanc's anchor lands that fateful day in 1917. But coping with the disappearance on that day of their infant daughter, they descend into an isolating denial: Lucy through guilt and reticence, and Harry through drinking and gambling. Despite the birth of a treasured son, each faces a future clouded by fear and apprehension. Then, fifty-two years after the catastrophe, Harry suffers a stroke. Lucy confronts the miracle of their survival and their debilitating loss, re-examining the past and her role in its making, and struggling to become the author of her own happiness.
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Berth

Berth

Carol Bruneau

Fiction / Cultural / Canada

Uprooted, longing for love and to feel somehow situated, Willa Jackson flees life as a military wife when she meets Hugh, the lighthouse keeper on McNabs Island in Halifax Harbour. The object of her fantasies, a musician, he's the last of a dying breed in this story set during the final days of lightkeeping before automation. Romanced by this magical location—so close to the city and its lively communities, yet so remote—she involves her ten-year-old son, Alex, in her escape. Things sour when isolation and Hugh, harbourer of secrets deadlier than she can imagine, turn as brutal as the forces of nature—and of self-deception—that threaten to engulf all three. A tender yet heartbreaking story of one woman's reckoning.
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A bird on every tree

A bird on every tree

Carol Bruneau

Fiction / Cultural / Canada

Carol Bruneau brings her finely honed voice to 12 new stories about shifting concepts of Nova Scotian identity. Writing with empathy, humour, and linguistic precision, Bruneau follows characters who find themselves connected to Nova Scotia by birth, through attempts at escape and new beginnings, or as a temporary resting place, always carrying with them their own idiosyncratic and complex definitions of “home.”
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