"This book will break your heart and heal it." - E.J. Levy, author of The Cape Doctor
"If you’re lucky enough to see a moose, chances are, it’ll change your life." - Marcia Butler, KenyonReview.org
A pregnant moose walks into a rural Maine town called Oslo, looking for food and a place to deliver her calf. Just as when strangers run into each other on the street, the movement of the moose determines the fate of three families in the town as they grapple with trauma, marriage, ambition, and their fraught relationship with the natural world.
Meet Pierre Roy, a brilliant twelve-year-old, who loses his memory in an accident. Then Claude Roy, Pierre’s blustery and proud fourth-generation Maine father who cannot, or will not, acknowledge the too-real and frightening fact of his son’s injury. And his wife, Celine, a once-upon-a-time traditional housewife and mother who descends into pills as a way of coping.
Enter Sandra and Jim Kimbrough, musicians and recent Maine transplants who scrape together a meager living as performers while shoring up the loose ends by attempting to live off the grid.
Finally, the wealthy widow "from away," Edna Sibley, whose dependent adult grandson is addicted to 1980’s Family Feud episodes.
Their disparate backgrounds and views on life make for, at times, uneasy neighbors. But when Sandra begins to teach Pierre the violin, forces beyond their control converge. The boy discovers that through sound he can enter a world without pain from the past nor worry for the future. He becomes a preadolescent existentialist and invents an unconventional method to come to terms with his memory loss, all the while attempting to protect, and then forgive, those who’ve failed him.
Oslo, Maine is a character driven novel exploring class and economic disparity. It inspects the strengths and limitations of seven average yet extraordinary people as they reckon with their considerable collective failure around Pierre’s accident.
Alliances unravel. Long held secrets are exposed. And throughout, the ever-present moose is the linchpin that drives this richly drawn story, filled with heartbreak and hope, to its unexpected conclusion.
"(T)he flawed but deeply relatable characters in Butler's second novel ... exude an authentic sense of humanity, making this a sure-fire recommendation for Fredrik Backman fans." —Carol Haggas, Booklist
A seductive, imaginative, and utterly unique story / an astute and compassionate foray into the intersecting lives of characters who are both ordinary and exceptional, saintly and deeply flawed." —Karen Dionne, #1 internationally bestselling author of The Wicked Sister