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Grace River [Paperback]

Rebecca Hendry
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 21 2009

Grace River is a smelter town in the interior of B.C. where most people who live there are born and bred, and everyone is either employed by AXIS or knows someone who is. Not much ever changes in Grace River. The days begin at Nick's Diner and end at the Steelworkers bar. When a young environmentalist arrives in town to investigate toxin levels in the river, the locals are forced to start looking honestly at their lives, their pasts and their uncertain futures.

A powerful and courageous story told from the perspective of four friends, Grace River explores the reasons why people continue to stay in harmful situations and asks us to think about the damage we all do, not only to the environment, but also to the ones we love the most.

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Hendry paints a vivid portrait of resentment and functional dysfuntion. —Vancouver Sun


[This] will be the hot new book in B.C. this year. —Coast Reporter


Grace River is a company-town drama that will resonate all over the world. —Vancouver Sun


Hendry is a skillful writer; the voices are subtly different from each other, serving to keep the narrative interesting and lively. —Harbour Spiel


A powerful and courageous debut novel and four friends who are forced to start looking honestly at their lives, their pasts and their uncertain futures.


Rebecca has a gift for dead-on portraits, for apt conveyances in prose of the small-town feeling. —Sunstream


About the Author

Rebecca Hendry was born in Ottawa and grew up in Brockville, Vancouver, Peterborough, Montreal and Yellowknife before settling on the Sunshine Coast at age 11. Her writing has appeared in the Dalhousie Review, Event, paperplates, Room of One's Own and numerous other literary journals. Her short story "Jesse Beautiful" was nominated for the 2003 Journey Prize. Rebecca lives in Roberts Creek British Columbia.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 3.5 stars; a pleasant surprise Sept. 8 2009
By Andrea
[Cross-posted on LibraryThing]

I picked this up at the library on a whim, mostly because I liked its cover. It ended up being one of my more memorable reads of this summer.

The story is narrated by four characters: Jessie, a waitress at Nick's and woman who's just grown tired of her life but doesn't know what to do about; Daniel, Jessie's abusive brute of a husband; Jackson, an old friend and coworker of Daniel's, and sort of the moral compass of the group; and Kali, an outsider who never quite fits into the Grace River community. The chapters alternate between these four characters but each of their voices is so distinct that there is never any doubt about which perspective you're getting.

I found the book really engaging and hard to put down at times. The story is presented almost as if you were a fly on the wall as things are happening. There's not a lot of exposition and back story, the author just lets things play out and the gaps are filled in as you read, through the characters' actions and how they relate to each other.

I loved having all four perspectives, especially those of Jessie and Daniel. Neither of them is happy with their marriage and they both want the same things, ultimately, but neither of them has a clue how to get there. Being able to see both sides of their relationship makes it that much more heartbreaking because you can see where each one is coming from, what they should do to make it right, and how much they both completely miss the mark.

I believe this is Hendry's first novel, so I look forward to seeing more from her. This was a pretty solid first effort.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Dark, Fascinating and Wonderful! Aug. 1 2013
By Justin
Having grown up in a small town/community in the Kootenay Mountains. I found this a beautiful and amazingly accurate blend of mood, feel and character. I loved it.
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