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A young woman at the isolated Envy River Tower keeps perpetual watch over the Canadian forest for signs of fire while exploring inner landscapes of memory and desire. Percy Turner, working alone in a forest service station for the seventh summer in a row, is plagued by emotional ambivalence and turmoil. She pursues an e-mail infatuation with a ranger whose voice on the daily radio reports intrigues her, but she does so mostly to distract herself from her obsessive, lifelong love for her childhood friend, Marlea. Though the two have been lovers off and on for years, Marlea's current relationship with a man creates clashes all around. Percy must also try to come to terms with the complicated madness of her deeply religious mother: suffering a breakdown after Percy's birth, she stood "by the side of the only highway into town with a placard reading: TAKE THIS CHILD OF THE DEVIL." Much of the book occurs in flashbacks set in the trailer park where the girls grew up; Luke frankly explores adolescent desire, including Percy's earliest fumblings with Marlea and a sadomasochistic affair with an older male neighbor. As an adult, Percy's sexuality is still ambiguous, mysterious even to her. The image of subterranean fire detailed in the book's prologue is a recurring theme, and although the metaphor may be too obvious for some "Hell is everywhere," Percy notes Luke manages not to overdo it. This debut, published last year in Canada to critical praise, skillfully layers its many conflicts into a haunting and memorable whole.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Priscilla "Percy" Turner is isolated from the world for half the year whenever she returns to Envy River Fire Tower, deep in the forest of northern Alberta. For the seventh year, she will spend April through September in a cabin whose tap water comes from a rain barrel below the eaves, near a generator shed, an outhouse, and a 100-foot tower she must climb several times a day. In the tower's cupola she scans for smoke from fires that can smolder underground undetected, then surface and quickly spread. Hidden fire is also what she feels for lifelong friend Marlea, who is with a man but wanders into Percy's arms on occasion. Their childhood friendship flashes back to Percy as she recalls her distant mother, who tried to give her away, claiming she was the devil's child and hurting her so deeply that later understanding of postpartum depression can't assuage her. When Percy does sight smoke, she sets off to confront the fires that threaten the forest and those that threaten her inner being. Whitney Scott
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
yes this book had many ways of stating life, but it was a disturbing teenage child/teen hood. I thought it could of been more appropriate and should of been rated higher than teen... Read morePublished on Feb. 20 2002
I'd bought this book during a recent visit to Canada, while searching for Canadian writers. It seems to me like I found a very promising one! Read morePublished on Dec 3 2001 by Delikiz