Sarah Felix Burns,
Jackfish, The Vanishing Village
(Inanna, 2007)

Clemance-Marie Nadeau was born and raised in the small fishing village of Jackfish, Ontario, bordering on the temperamental Lake Superior. The town of Jackfish no longer exists, but its ghosts haunt Clemance daily. Life in Jackfish was never easy, and when tragedy struck her family -- again -- Clemance left her beloved Jackfish in search of something more.

As a young woman Clemance experiences one heartbreaking and life-altering moment after another. And still she struggles on, coping with her feelings of guilt and regret, seeking help when she can, and finding a happier her in an unexpected delight.

When I started reading this book, I was immediately drawn to the story. The author took me through Clemance's life, from present to past, and the words and the time flow seamlessly together. I was intrigued by this vanishing village and the people that came from it, that fled it, that stayed till it disappeared.

Clemance is a complex protagonist with emotional and physical scars. She's not a warm and fuzzy heroine, but still I cared for her, tremendously, and those in her life. It took me about 20 minutes to read the last page because my eyes were a constant pool of tears. It is hard to describe a book that makes you feel so many things, but by the end I felt like every emotion has been explored; all I can say is I loved the journey that Sarah Felix Burns took me on. Jackfish is vivid, poignant and extraordinary storytelling.

review by
Cherise Everhard

30 August 2008

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