A young, naive girl with no social graces; an aging hippie whose baby daughter was kidnapped; a hospital operator whose sister committed suicide; a young, talented pastry chef who hides her talent behind the counter of a patisserie. All linked, somehow – as friends, neighbors, blood relations.
The novel unfolds slowly, and as each character’s tale unspools, you get glimpses of their connection. Not everything is spelled out in black and white, and that’s a good thing. A lot is left to the imagination, which is at should be. And as the story slowly progresses, you find yourself more and more invested in the lives of these ladies.
The novel is set in the 1980s, in the backdrop of Montreal’s historic Pointe St-Charles, a rundown neighborhood on the cusp of gentrification. Against a backdrop of abandonment and loss, Zorn deftly interweaves the rich yet fragile lives of three very different people into a story of strength and friendship.
The characters are beautifully rendered, the plotting is excellent, and the story flows along beautifully, keeping you fully gripped despite its slow pace.
I hadn’t heard of Alice Zorn before I read this book, but now I will definitely look out for her work. Highly recommended!