Pub date: October 7, 2011
Rights: Canada and US (English/French)
Winner, 2012 Commonwealth Book Prize
Winner, 2012 Margaret and John Savage First Book Award
Finalist, 2012 CLA Young Adult Book Award
Longlist finalist, IMPac Dublin Award
A Top 5 Contender for CANADA READS
Living with a weird brother in a small town can be tough enough. Having a spectacular fall through the ice at a skating party and nearly drowning are grounds for embarrassment. But having a vision and narrating it to the assembled crowd solidifies your status as an outcast.
What Ruby Carson saw during that fateful day was her entire town — buildings and people — floating underwater. Then an orange-tipped surveyor stake turns up in a farmer's field. Another is found in the cemetery. A man with surveying equipment is spotted eating lunch near Pokiok Falls. The residents of Haventon soon discover that a massive dam is being constructed and that most of their homes will be swallowed by the rising water. Suspicions mount, tempers flare, and secrets are revealed. As the town prepares for its own demise, 14-year-old Ruby Carson sees it all from a front-row seat.
Set in the 1960s, The Town That Drowned evokes the awkwardness of childhood, the thrill of first love, and the importance of having a place to call home. Deftly written in a deceptively unassuming style, Nason's keen insights into human nature and the depth of human attachment to place make this novel ripple in an amber tension of light and shadow.
"The Town That Drowned will pull you into its compassionate heart and imbue you with the portrait of a place not easily forgotten." Donna Morrissey, author of What They Wanted
"By turns charming, humorous and terrifying, Riel Nason's unique and compelling coming-of-age story is infused with warmth and insight and -- through artfully painted details of a richly textured community -- speaks to the transcendent power of human bonds." Carla Gunn, author of Amphibian
“[A] captivating debut novel . . . many flashes of clever humour and felicitous, well-paced storytelling that keeps you engaged throughout.” — National Post
“Charming, wry, and believable . . . Nason has a particular gift for introducing supporting characters with memorable anecdotes, each of which reads like a sparkling little gem of a short story . . . Ruby’s voice, vibrating with contradictory desires, [delivers] shot-to-the-heart moments of real humour and pathos.” — Quill & Quire
"If her debut novel, The Town That Drowned, is any indication, Riel Nason is a writer to watch. This tender tale about a New Brunswick village threatened by the provincial government's plan to build a dam has a ton of soul." Susan G. Cole, NOW Magazine, Toronto
“Riel Nason’s debut novel establishes her as a writer with a bright future . . . Nason’s writing is warm and empathetic. She has a lovely ear for dialogue and her townspeople are well drawn. She also does a terrific job capturing the feel of a 1960s rural New Brunswick.” — The Chronicle Herald
“The writing is finely polished, the locale evocative, and her dialogue rings true. In Ruby, she nails the voice of youth.” — Maple Tree Literary Supplement
“An impressive first novel.” — The Winnipeg Review
"The Town That Drowned is not easily forgotten." — Scene Magazine
A "very involving and enjoyable read, with nuanced characterisation . . . it questions progress and the nature of a place to call home." — 2012 Commonwealth Book Prize judges
"I loved it. It’s Canadian historical fiction with a tiny touch of the paranormal." Libraries and Young Adult Blog, 2012 Canadian Library Association Young Adult Book Award judge
“Fantastic . . . I had such an emotional reaction . . . The ending is so hopeful and uplifting. Highly recommended." — Chrisbookarama.com