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A Fit Month for Dying
A Fit Month for Dying

A Fit Month for Dying

A Fit Month for Dying is the third book in M.T. Dohaney's highly praised trilogy about the women of Newfoundland's outports. Fans of The Corrigan Women and To Scatter Stones will embrace this new book, while those reading the author for the first time will discover her characteristic bittersweet humour. Tess Corrigan seems to be living the good life. She is a popular politician, the first woman to serve as a Member of the House of Assembly. Her husband Greg is a successful lawyer and son Brendan is a seemingly happy hockey-mad twelve-year-old. Originally from the village of The Cove, the family is now comfortably ensconced in Newfoundland's capital city of St. John's. Urged on by Greg's mother Philomena, Tess sets out to unravel her convoluted family tree. She searches out her natural father who is living in a retirement community, or as he calls it a "raisin farm," in Arizona. Ed Strominski was an American serving at the Argentia Naval Base when he married Tess's mother Carmel. Charming and outgoing, his one flaw was neglecting to reveal the small detail that he already had a wife. The stigma of growing up as the daughter of the abandoned "poor Carmel" has shaped Tess's life.

Involved with her own family problems and with her political work, Tess has no inkling of trouble when Brendan begs her to let him quit the Altar Servers' Association at their St. John's church. Always forthright, Tess insists that he fulfill his responsibilities to the organization. Her decision sets into motion a series of betrayals, revelations, and realizations that change forever her family and the village of The Cove. After a confrontation with the father of one of Brendan's friends, Tess is shattered by the disclosure that her son has been abused by their trusted priest, Father Tom. Shame and grief envelop the family and their world becomes as turbulent as the seas of Newfoundland. Deeply held beliefs are destroyed as the characters begin to challenge long imposed systems of cultural, political, and spiritual authority. But out of the ashes of Tess's life a small phoenix of hope arises in the form of Greg's brother who, on his way to a feed of capelin, reveals to her his own story of abuse and survival. Buoyed by his story, Tess begins to gather strength to rebuild her life, her family, and her faith in human nature.


M.T. (Jean) Dohaney was born in the small village of Point Verde, Placentia Bay, Newfoundland. She moved to Fredericton in 1954, where she completed her BA in English at the University of New Brunswick. She holds both a MA and PhD in literature from the University of Maine and Boston University, respectively. In 1988, she released her first book, The Corrigan Women, which was followed by To Scatter Stones in 1992, A Marriage of Masks in 1996 and A Fit Month for Dying in 2000.

"Dohaney's unfailing ear for dialogue and use of dark humour create characters almost too vibrant to be contained by the page. A Fit Month for Dying — which can be enjoyed without reading the preceding novels — is easily the best of the trilogy. The characters are more deeply themselves, the story moves with its own swift energy, and Dohaney's turns of phrase are more finely calibrated for emotional impact." — Quill & Quire

"Her ear for both spoken and internal dialogue is stunning." — Telegraph Journal

213 pages
Pub date: October 1, 2000