FREE SHIPPING in CANADA for orders over $35


184 pages
Published:   April 30, 2002
Fiction  /  Queer Lit  /  Novels
Paperback:   9780864923073    $19.95

Waterborne is a preternatural tale of the Atlantic layered with the textures, colours, and voices of the sea. Stella Maris Goulding is the unwanted child of a teenage mother and a usually absent father. She has grown up in Elsinore, a Newfoundland fishing village, loved and cared for only by her grandmother. Her mother clearly hates her, belittling and abusing her without remorse while cultivating her own beauty. Stella adores her mother and blames herself for the failings with which her mother charges her. The legacy of Stella's unhappy childhood is an emptiness that nothing can fill. Unable to transform her inner self, Stella adopts an outer persona. Binding her torso with an elastic bandage, she dons boxer shorts and a singlet, black jeans and a leather biker jacket. The young man who is not her is free to come and go in the world as he pleases, unobserved. On these journeys, she leaves herself behind like a shed skin. Alone at the seashore, Stella discovers a pale young man washed up on the Newfoundland beach.

Soon, she begins to recognize his part in the strange heritage passed down through generations of her family. She will never know all of her family's story, but as her mother is dying, she learns what she needs to know about them all: her Scottish great-grandmother, her grandmother, her terrible mother, and herself. With her mother, she also recognizes the true identity of the beautiful young man she has befriended.

Waterborne is a compelling and emotionally intense novel about transformation and human desire. JoAnne Soper-Cook has crafted a world steeped in magical realism, where neither time nor betrayal can break the bonds of family.
+Show more


JoAnne Soper-Cook was born in outport Newfoundland and now lives in St. John's. Soper-Cook got her start as a writer at the age of eight, when her mother mailed a story she'd written in to the editor of a local newspaper, who published it She is the author of four critically acclaimed novels: Waterborne (published by Goose Lane Editions in 2002), The Wide World Dreaming, Waking the Messiah and A Cold-Blooded Scoundrel (published as an ebook). The Opium Lady is her first book of stories. The daughter of a long line of Newfoundland fishermen, JoAnne Soper-Cook was raised by a Scottish war bride in a tiny fishing village on a rocky island in the middle of the ocean. She loves to walk and she says that she spends too much time outdoors. Her dog, a Labrador retriever cross, is named Elton John. Her interests include New Age Music, Celtic instrumental, singing in the shower, cult TV, tennis, off-road cycling, and guided meditation. She owns crystals and isn't afraid to use them. Her stories, poetry, and journalism have appeared in TickleAce, Waxing and Waning, Rant, the Muse, Atmospherics and Essays on Canadian Writing and in several Newfoundland newspapers, including the Carbonear Compass, the Southern Gazette and the Clarenville Packet. Her stories and commentary have been broadcast on CBC Radio and her plays have been performed at the Arts and Culture Centre in St. John's. Soper-Cook has also worked as an editor (for Jesperson Press) and as a teacher at colleges and universities in Newfoundland.


"Gripping ... Waterborne is an intense and intriguing read that ought to establish this Newfoundland author as an important new voice in fiction." — Globe and Mail

"Soper-Cook understands the power that women wield, the tenacity and passion that are handed down from one generation to the next, as well as the alluring power of stories and myths and gossip and how they inform women's lives. With Waterborne, she has added another tale to that already rich store of material." — Quill & Quire