Shortlisted, Thomas Head Raddall Award
When Stella disappears, leaving her toddler and husband behind, her mother Sonia, a widowed farm wife and former lighthouse keeper, struggles to face the possibility that her daughter may not have slipped through the ice. She may have been pushed.
In a intensely memorable narrative with the deceptive pull of an undertow, Sonia's past, a flotsam of lost dreams, bruised hopes, buried love, wells up to meet her. Confronted with her own history of choices and failures, Sonia is compelled to revise her perception of her daughter's life and dramatically change the way she lives her own.
Compton is a deft draughtsman of character, whose powers of description, timing, and astounding revelation coalesce into a splendidly nuanced account of the unguessed-at legacies of a life shaped by choices.
"With a perfect sense of timing, Compton paces the story and the unveiling of memories in a way that keeps readers interested. Her prose is delightful and evocative." — Rover
"A brilliant debut novel, Tide Road demands the reader's attention. What makes it so strong isn't only the exceptional quality of the writing (virtually every page is punctuated with memorable lines), but the insight into why women stay in abusive relationships, how memory and loss of identity work against them and how desperate they become to leave." — Telegraph Journal
"Valerie Compton is the antidote to wilful amnesia, an astonishingly assured new voice delivering the truth with a fierce economy. Read her and remember." — Richard Cumyn
"A supple and complex meditation on how we grapple with the unknown. The sensual vitality of Valerie Compton's prose calls to mind the writings of Lisa Moore or E. Annie Proulx." — Catherine Bush
Pub date: March 4, 2011