It is the Fifties in an isolated outport in Newfoundland. Nothing penetrates this antiquated existence, as television, telephones, cars, even roads, elude the villagers and the only visitors are fog-bound fishermen. Here, outside of Haire’s Hollow, lives 14-year old Kit Pitman with her mentally handicapped mother Josie both women cared for and protected by the indomitable Lizzie, Kit’s grandmother. The three live a life of some hardship, but much love, punctuated by the change of seasons in the isolated gully where they live.
Then a tragic change in their circumstances brings back an old threat that Josie be sent to an institution and Kit to an orphanage. Advancing this argument is the Reverend Ropson, who from the pulpit decries Josie as the “Gully Tramp.” Defending the women is Doc Hodgson, who brought Kit into the world and knows the secrets of her birth. An uneasy truce is forged, with the Reverend’s son Sid acting as spy and woodcutter, while village women supply food and gossip. Josie delights in Sid’s visits, and Kit grows to love him.
There is another menace in Haire’s Hollow the notorious rapist and killer known as Shine. When Shine attacks Kit in a drunken rage, it sets off a chain of events that leads to further violence and a terrible revelation. Kit and Sid must decide which laws of God and man apply in their despairing world and how much misery they can bear.
Kit’s Law is a stunning debut written with the stark rawness of character and landscape of the Rock itself. It evokes the lyrical gifts of E. Annie Proulx, the emotional power of Wally Lamb, and the compelling storytelling of Ann-Marie MacDonald. At its centre is the innocence and determination of Kit herself, a young woman who experiences extremes of pain on the way to redemption. As she says: “It is better to sense nothing at all, to move through the world and glimpse it from a distance, then to split God’s gift in half and live in its underside, with no rays of light dispersing the darkness.”
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NATIONAL BESTSELLER IN CANADA
"A STUNNING DEBUT." –Telegraph (London)
"IMPOSSIBLE TO PUT DOWN." –Sunday Business Post (Ireland)
"SPEAKS DIRECTLY TO THE HEART." –Toronto Globe and Mail
In this powerful novel from one of the most gifted storytellers to emerge from Canada since Carol Shields, we find "all the old-fashioned virtues: a vivid sense of place, larger than life characters, an intricate and suspenseful plot, and a feisty heroine whom we can't help rooting for on every page" (Margot Livesey).
Kit Pitman is fourteen and lives in a ramshackle cottage on the outer banks of Newfoundland, where isolation is all she knows. The only visitors are fogbound fishermen and the occasional young man brought ashore to keep the bloodlines clean. But Kit's isolation is compounded by the mystery that surrounds her family and her illegitimate birth. Her mother, Josie, is mentally challenged and often runs wild among the clapboard houses that dot the shore. Meanwhile, her grandmother Lizzy staunchly guards them both from the disapproving glances that pious towns-folk cast their way. But when Lizzy dies suddenly, Kit and her childlike mother are left vulnerable to life's harsh realities and unexpected dangers that threaten to break them in two. A wrenching story ensues, as Donna Morrissey depicts with exceptional grace the way the lines between mother and daughter in this unlikely relationship, although blurred, are no less felt. Kit's Law is a novel of extraordinary, almost mythical power and marks the debut of an enormous new talent.
"Entrancing...affecting...haunting...Donna Morrissey has much in common with Thomas Hardy." --Sunday Tribune (Dublin)
A native of Newfoundland, DONNA MORRISSEY left The Beaches, a small outpost on the west coast, when she was sixteen. She studied at Memorial University in St. John's and now lives in Halifax. She has adapted two of her short stories into award-winning screenplays, one of which aired on the CBC. Kit's Law is her first novel.From the Inside Flap:
At the centre of this powerful story are three larger-than-life figures: fourteen-year-old Kit Pitman, her mentally handicapped mother, and her formidable grandmother. Together, they live in a ramshackle cottage in a remote Newfoundland outport, where the only visitors are fogbound fishermen. Isolated from the others in her village by poverty, and the mysterious circumstances of her illegitimate birth, Kit grows up as an outsider, protected only by her grandmother's indomitable spirit. Then one day, an attack on Kit sets off a chain of events that leads to a surprising and terrible revelation.
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Book Description Penguin Canada, 2009. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 143170341