When their farm gets expropriated to make way for the Point Lepreau nuclear power plant, Alexander McNab and his family move to Saint John. Without the magic of the Bay of Fundy, without the bright companionship of his little sister, Alex grows up a lonely, insecure failure.
At 30, he's had enough; to make a clean break, he moves to Halifax. There, he is hired as a counsellor at New Dawn, a rehabilitation workshop, even though he has no professional qualifications. Alex soon becomes part of the New Dawn family, and the distinction between the helper and the helped blurs. The key may be that Alex takes for granted the wholeness in each of these damaged adults. Blind Jeff, 17, knows everything about cars, so Alex takes him out to the parking lot and teaches him to drive. In turn, Alex is adopted by Cornwallis Itwaru, a descendent of Jamaican Maroons plagued by encroaching Alzheimer's, who firmly adjusts Alex's fuzzy thinking. Alex sees right away that Gloria Vincent, who suffers from schizophrenia, has adopted a sloppy dress and ugly glasses as camouflage for her intelligence and beauty, and his discovery does not wholly displease her. Unfortunately, New Dawn goes broke, but by the time the landlord padlocks the doors, Alex has learned that living life fully doesn't depend on external circumstances.
Pub date: October 1, 1998