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The Town That Drowned (10th Anniversary Edition)

The Town That Drowned (10th Anniversary Edition)

280 pages
Published:   September 21, 2021
Fiction  /  Novels
Paperback:   9781773102313    $22.95

A perennial favourite.
"Charming, wry, and believable." — Quill & Quire

Riel Nason’s novel The Town That Drowned debuted in 2011 to glowing reviews and a flurry of awards, including a Commonwealth Book Prize. Nason’s evocation of the awkwardness of childhood, the thrill of first love, and the importance of having a place to call home made the novel an instant classic. Now in celebration of its 10th anniversary, The Town That Drowned will be released in a special anniversary edition, with an afterword, a fresh design, and an online book club guide.

In the town of Haventon, Ruby Carson’s embarrassing fall through the ice ruins a skating party and prompts an unfortunate vision: her entire town — buildings and people — floating underwater. As orange-tipped surveyor stakes begin to turn up, 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.
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Riel Nason is a writer and textile artist. She is the author of three novels, one for middle-grade readers; a children’s picture book; and two books on quilting. The Town That Drowned was her debut novel. It won the Commonwealth Book Prize for Canada and Europe and the Margaret and John Savage First Book Award. She lives in Quispamsis, New Brunswick.


Winner: Commonwealth Book Prize, Canada and Europe
Winner: Margaret and John Savage First Book Award
Shortlisted: CLA Young Adult Book Award
Longlisted: IMPAC Dublin Award
Shortlisted: Red Maple Award
Winner: Frye Academy Award
Shortlisted: University of Canberra Book of the Year


"[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." — NOW Magazine

"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." — 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." — Winnipeg Review

"The Town That Drowned is not easily forgotten." — Scene Magazine

"Nason writes with a keen logic and with the kind of wisdom that comes from an astute understanding of what it is to be human. It is a gift, and Nason brings this gift to the book's protagonist fourteen-year-old Ruby Carson ... From the smell of hot chocolate when Ruby regains consciousness from her fall, to the Nesbitt's Orange pop bottle sealed with canning wax, Nason imbues every scene with sensory delight. But anything of the quaint or peculiarly local in this book takes a back seat to the voice of Ruby Carson. She is one of a kind." — Malahat Review

"Fantastic ... I had such an emotional reaction ... The ending is so hopeful and uplifting. Highly recommended." —

"This is a lighthearted and well-written book that I would recommend to anyone." — Record

"[T]his is a vivid, intimate novel that works equally well for adult and young-adult readers. ... Nason's genius in this novel is not just to tell an important historical story that needed to be told but to find exactly the right perspective from which to tell it. ... The Town That Drowned is a warm, intimate story in which every character feels as real as someone you might meet on the street." — Compulsive Overreader

"This is a richly detailed journey through a young woman's perspective, and the story flows like a gentle river as the reader watches a catastrophe unfold in slow motion. ... It's haunting and memorable, and simply a lovely read." — Amy's Marathon of Books

"I loved it. It's Canadian historical fiction with a tiny touch of the paranormal." — 2012 Canadian Library Association Young Adult Book Award judge

"All ages will find The Town That Drowned a powerfully compelling portrait of a community at siege both within and by outsiders, with Ruby representing the perfect focal point of response to vast changes." — Donovan Literary Services

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