What Is Written on the Tongue
Coming April, 2022 from ECW Press
For readers of Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See and Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried, a transportive historical novel about finding morality in the throes of war and colonization
Released from Nazi forced labor as World War II ends, 20-year-old Sam is quickly drafted and sent to the island of Java to help regain control of the colony. But the Indonesian independence movement is far ahead of the Dutch, and Sam is thrown into a guerilla war, his loyalties challenged when his squad commits atrocities reminiscent of those he suffered at the hands of the Nazis. Sam falls in love with both Sari and the beautiful island she calls home, but as he loses friends to sniper fire and jungle malady, he also loses sight of what he wants most — to be a good man.
Winner: 2014 WILLA Literary Award for historical fiction
Shortlisted: 2014 Saskatchewan Fiction Award
Banished to 1906 Saskatchewan, twenty-year-old Moira Burns must come to terms with both her unplanned pregnancy and Dillan Flaherty, the superstitious Catholic homesteader who employs her as a “dollybird.”
Housekeeper or whore? A dollybird might be either, or both, in the vocabulary of the times, leaving the community to draw its own conclusions about Moira’s role in that settler’s soddy. Determined to find redemption in the midst of derision, joy despite uncertainty, Moira faces impossible choices with consequences beyond anything she ever imagined.
Woven through with birth, death and the potential violence of both man and the elements, Dollybird celebrates the small mercies found among characters struggling under a huge prairie sky that waits , not so quiety, for them to fail.