In the land of birdfishes / Rebecca Silver Slayter.

Main Author: Silver Slayter, Rebecca.
Published: Toronto : HarperCollins Publishers, 2013.
Edition: 1st ed.
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Summary

This remarkable novel about myth-making and survival opens in rural Nova Scotia, where two sisters witness the suicide of their wild, beautiful mother. Their father, sick with grief, blindfolds the children to shield them from the misery of the world. Left that way for years, they are each scarred in their own way: Mara is rendered fully blind, and Aileen partly so. When a neighbour discovers their condition, they are immediately separated for treatment, and it isn't until decades later, after Aileen's marriage has fallen apart, that she decides to seek out her lost sister. She heads to Dawson City, Yukon, where Mara is said to be living, but instead finds Mara's angry young son, Jason.

Soon Aileen has insinuated her way into the hard-drinking, hard-living existence of Dawson City's residents, from whom she hears various conflicting stories about her sister. When the novel shifts to Jason's perspective, the reader starts to understand the nature of these stories and the underlying secrets that compel their creation.

Engaging and deeply moving, In the Land of Birdfishes builds inevitably to a shocking and heartbreaking conclusion. When I had eyes, I saw my sister's hair (yellow), my mother's back, small rocks that the water took out and in from the shore with gasps of its deep ocean lungs. I remember my own hands, how tiny they were beside my father's. One day he put my hands in his and showed me how they disappeared, like that, inside his fist. Both my hands: gone. I lost all this--lost everything--but slowly.