Warm-hearted and winsomely imaginative' Sunday Times
The fish have been vanishing from the waters off Big Running, Newfoundland, and now the people are too . . .
Amidst abandoned houses and closed schools, ten-year-old Finn and his sister Cora while away their nights counting the few remaining fishing boats on the coast. Meanwhile Finn's music teacher, Mrs Callaghan, shares stories about his family, the island's ancient melodies, and its myths of mermaids and magic snakes. Then it's Cora's turn to vanish. Realising that he could lose his family as well as his home, Finn sets out to rescue his sister and bring life back to the barren waters.
'A Wes Anderson-esque tale to fall for' Stylist
'This is a novel in love with music, magic and the idealism of childhood' The Times
A family struggles to hold on to the only home it has ever known in this moving novel from Hooper (Etta and Otto and Russell and James). The Connor family lives in Big Running, Newfoundland, an oceanside village that has fallen on hard times after the fish have mysteriously disappeared. Parents Aiden and Martha both grew up in Big Running and decided to stay with their adolescent children, Cora and Finn, when the other families began to move away. To support the family, Aiden and Martha alternate months caring for the children and working at an energy plant north of Big Running. With little to hold their attention, Cora and Finn find their own projects: Cora restyles abandoned houses in the theme of countries she dreams of visiting; Finn investigates the local plant life and begins to formulate a theory about the missing fish. When the government halts public services and advises residents to leave the desolate town, the Connors must make drastic choices if they wish to cling to their way of life. With stark prose, Hooper captures the desperation and difficulty of life on the edge of civilization while maintaining the foundation of tenderness as her characters take care of one another in the face of near-insurmountable struggle. Heartbreaking and empathetic, Hooper's fine novel is a haunting evocation of changing times and the power of place.