In a novel as compelling as the forbidden love at its heart, Alissa York, one of Canada’s most distinctive writers, evokes an era of unspoken desires in which pain and longing are braided together along treacherous lines.
It’s 1922 at Far Cry Cannery, a quarter-mile of boardwalk and wooden buildings strung along the rocks of Rivers Inlet on the northwest coast of British Columbia. The time has come for Anders Viken, storekeeper and honorary uncle to the recently orphaned Kit, to give an account of his secret self—from his first home in Norway, another land of islands and fjords, to his escape from his family’s loving grip, to his wide-open years of rough living and impossible love.
As the sockeye flood up the inlet, Anders sets his secrets down for 18-year-old Kit, the only member of his chosen family he has left after her mother, Bobbie, scandalized Far Cry by running off with the camp’s handsome Chinese cook, and her father, Frank, was found drowned alongside his own boat. While Anders does his reckoning, Kit fends off the attentions of the cannery manager and tries to earn her keep. Oars in hand, she glides her skiff out over the great returning school and casts her net. This, at least, makes sense to her, as opposed to the convoluted workings of love.
Alissa York’s new novel, Far Cry, came out in March 2023. Her internationally acclaimed novels include Mercy, Effigy (shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize), Fauna and, most recently, The Naturalist (winner of the Canadian Author’s Association Fiction Award). Stories from her short fiction collection, Any Given Power, have won the Journey Prize and the Bronwen Wallace Award; her essays and articles have appeared in The Guardian, The Globe and Mail, Brick magazine and elsewhere. In 2018, she won the Writers’ Trust Engel/Findley Award for a Writer in Mid Career. York has lived all over Canada and now makes her home in Toronto with her husband, artist Clive Holden. She teaches Creative Writing at the Humber School for Writers.
Any Given Power, 1999. ARP Books.
Mercy, 2003. Penguin Random House Canada.
Effigy, 2007. Penguin Random House Canada.
Fauna, 2010. Penguin Random House Canada.
The Naturalist, 2016. Penguin Random House Canada.