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by Marjorie Celona (Penguin)

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If the first page of this brilliant debut doesn’t hook you, you should probably get your eyes checked. Long-listed for the Giller Prize, Y is that rare breed of novel that deftly employs a complex pattern of image and metaphor with a steady hand---does not choke you by shoving its purpose down your throat, but rather leaves it to rest on your skin like a film. The novel follows Shannon, who has had many other names, who was abandoned at a Victoria YMCA as a baby. The story follows her development as she passes through several foster homes, is stripped of temporary families, and struggles to come to terms with her past. Concurrently, we get the story of Shannon’s mother, Yula, who waits for her daughter in the forests of Vancouver Island. The result is a stunning portrayal of the dynamic definition of family told from a gritty and unconventional Canadian voice.

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