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How a Woman Becomes a Lake

Marjorie Celona

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Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

A compelling literary mystery about the dark corners in a small community, from Marjorie Celona, whose award-winning debut novel Y was praised by Evie Wyld as 'a beautiful, moving book that explores what it takes to belong'.

A compelling literary mystery about the dark corners in a small community from an acclaimed novelist which asks: what do you do when the people who are supposed to love you the most fail?

It's New Year's Day and the residents of a small fishing town are ready to start their lives anew. Leo takes his two young sons out to the lake to write resolutions on paper boats. That same frigid morning, Vera sets out for a walk with her dog along the lake, leaving her husband in bed with a hangover.

But she never returns. She places a call to the police saying she's found a boy in the woods, but the call is cut short by a muffled cry. Did one of Leo's sons see Vera? What are they hiding from the police? And why are they so scared of their own father?

In the months ahead, Vera's absence sets off a chain of reverberating events in Whale Bay. Her apathetic husband succumbs to grief and disappears. Leo heads south and remarries, attempting to escape the history of violence that hangs over his family. And the cop investigating the case falls for Leo's ex-wife but finds himself slipping further away from the truth.

Told from shifting perspectives, How a Woman Becomes a Lake is about childhood, familial bonds, new beginnings, and costly mistakes.

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