An “absorbing . . . beautifully written” debut about the trials of growing up unique in a restrictive environment (The New York Times Book Review).
In 1968, in a remote part of Canada, a child is born—a baby who appears to be neither fully boy nor girl, but both at once. Only three people share the secret: the baby’s parents and a trusted neighbor. Together, the adults make the difficult choice of deciding the gender for themselves, and raise the child as a boy named Wayne.
But as Wayne grows up, his shadow-self, a girl he thinks of as “Annabel,” is never entirely extinguished, and indeed is secretly nurtured by the women in his life. As Wayne approaches adulthood, and its emotional and physical demands, the woman inside him begins to cry out. The changes that follow are momentous not just for him, but for the three adults who have guarded his secret.
Shortlisted for the Orange Prize in Fiction, this “enchanting” literary gem explores the courage to unveil one’s true self in a culture that shuns contradiction (The New Yorker).
Isolated as Croyden Harbour may be from the social upheaval of 1968, the tiny village on the southeast Labrador coast plays host to its own revolution in Winter's sincere, self-serious debut. Jacinta and Treadway Blake are like any other couple in town he's away on the trapline all winter, she's confined to domestic life. But the clarity of traditional gender roles begins to unravel when Jacinta gives birth to a hermaphrodite. Both Treadway and the local doctor decide the baby will be brought up as a boy he's named Wayne, and his female genitalia are sewn shut. Meanwhile, Jacinta's friend Thomasina, quietly tends to the spiritual development of the child's female identity. Kept in the dark about his condition for most of his childhood, Wayne struggles to live up to the manly standards imposed by his well-meaning if curmudgeonly father, but when adolescence rolls around, Wayne's body reveals a number of surprises and becomes a battleground of physiology, identity, and sexual discovery. Though delivered at times with a heavy hand, the novel's moral of acceptance and understanding is sure to win Winter many fans.