Authors: Donna Morrissey
Tags: #General Fiction
Winner of the Canadian Booksellers Association Libris Award, the Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize, and the American Library Association’s Alex Award
Shortlisted for the Thomas Head Raddall Atlantic Fiction Prize, the Chapters/Books in Canada First Novel Award, and the Atlantic Provinces Booksellers’ Choice Award
“Kit’s voice has a startling clarity and authenticity …
is a great read, an affecting, haunting, memorable tale told by a true, effortless storyteller.”
“Donna Morrissey has created in
an extraordinary trinity of women, and charted for our vast entertainment their piquant and heroic adjustments in relation to those who have power in Newfoundland’s Haire’s Hollow—men such as the starchy Reverend Ropson, his son Sid, the local doctor, and the murdering, raping jailbird Shine. Comparisons to Annie Proulx are inevitable, but
exists in a valley of its own saying, and in the directness of its tone, establishes its own authority.”
—Thomas Keneally, author of
] pursues its homage to melodrama to a beautifully structured resolution that speaks directly to the heart.”
The Globe and Mail
“Kit Pitman … is an unforgettable character … Shy but tough … Kit will leave an indelible impression with the reader … No character is a cardboard cutout. All are flesh, emotions, difficulties and triumphs … A stunning debut novel from a very talented writer.”
“Like a twentieth century Brontë sister, Morrissey indulges in the full spectrum of passion and tragedy, sin and redemption, despair and impossible optimism … [
] makes for a helluva good read.”
The Daily News
“A Dickensian brawl of a novel … never a dull moment! The reader is willingly swept along in the tide.”
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“A fast-paced charmer of a yarn.”
“Morrissey knows of what she writes … a lively narrative with an unquestionable sense of authenticity.”
“Donna Morrissey’s novel,
, lures you in with a soft, poetic beginning, then wrenches you into the harsh realities of life for 14-year-old Kit Pitman, who lives in an isolated Newfoundland outport. Morrissey understands the music of the language here … The novel carries a potent emotional impact that stays with you long after you walk away from the story … a wonderful addition to the great canon of Newfoundland literature.”
—Lesley Choyce, author of
has those timeless, mythic qualities you find in Hardy. Donna Morrissey takes the old and makes it new in a miraculous way. As do all good novels.”
—Eric McCormack, author of
The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women
is a wonderful book. I love the sense of place and the vividly described people who inhabit Haire’s Hollow. Donna Morrissey has managed an intriguing plot-line in addition to characters, sounds and passions that light up the book so marvellously. The end brought a sense of peace to this emotionally fraught story. After holding my breath right through it was a relief to be able to exhale.”
—Anita Rau Badami, author of
“A stunning debut.”
“There’s a sense in Morrissey’s writing that William Faulkner has met Annie Proulx … If her first novel is anything to go by, Morrissey is almost certain to set new boundaries in fiction in Canada.”
Atlantic Books Today
“Kit is a heroine whom we immediately warm to …
is a charmer.”
“[A] beautiful first novel … With a poet’s attention to sound, Morrissey combines wonderful, rich characters and compelling family intrigue with a powerful, almost meditative sense of place. Startling, vivid, and expertly crafted, this novel introduces an exciting writer whose career needs to be followed closely.”
“Morrissey has crafted an incredible debut novel … Impossible to put down.”
The Sunday Business Post
offers the reader all the old-fashioned virtues: a vivid sense of place, larger-than-life characters, an intricate and suspenseful plot and a feisty heroine we can’t help rooting for on every page. Donna Morrissey has written a terrific novel.”
—Margot Livesey, author of
“Suffused with a wonder for the natural world like Thomas Hardy’s, and the tart forthrightness of Marilynne Robinson, this atmospheric coming-of-age story marks the promising debut of Canadian screen-writer Donna Morrissey … Like her beloved grandmother, Kit is valiant and impulsive, but most fetching is her voice: whether describing Josie’s ‘smell of rotting dogberries’ or the big Newfoundland skies, which Morrissey captures with thrilling verve and precision.”
is the award-winning author of four novels,
Kit’s Law, Downhill Chance, Sylvanus Now
What They Wanted
, all set in Newfoundland and all subsequently translated into several languages.
won the CBA Libris Award, the Winifred Holtby Prize, and the American Library Association’s Alex Award. Both
won the Thomas Head Raddall Atlantic Fiction Prize, and
was the winner of the Atlantic Independent Booksellers Choice Award. Her screenplay,
, won a Gemini Award. Morrissey grew up in The Beaches, a small fishing outport in Newfoundland, and now lives in Halifax.
ALSO BY DONNA MORRISSEY
What They Wanted
Published by the Penguin Group
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First published in Viking Canada hardcover by Penguin Group (Canada), a division of Pearson Canada Inc., 1999
Published in Penguin Canada paperback by Penguin Group (Canada), a division of Pearson Canada Inc., 2000
Published in this edition, 2009
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 (WEB)
Copyright © Donna Morrissey, 1999
All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.
Publisher’s note: This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Manufactured in Canada.
LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES CANADA CATALOGUING IN PUBLICATION
Morrissey, Donna, 1956-
Kit’s law / Donna Morrissey.
PS8576.O74164K57 2009a C813’.54 C2009-903800-5
Except in the United States of America, this book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, re-sold, hired out, or otherwise circulated without the publisher’s prior consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.
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To my mom and dad, Claudine and Enerchius Osmond, who loved me.
For their love and kindness during the writing of this book, I would like to thank my publisher, Cynthia Good, and my agent, Beverly Slopen, Michael Chadwick, Ann Kilcher, Lori Maruk and, most especially, my esteemed mentor, Mrs. Dianne Senechal.
F YOU WERE TO PERCH ON A TREETOP
and look down on Fox Cove, you would see a gully, about twenty feet across and with a brook gurgling down its spine to the seashore below and flanked on either side by a sea of rippling grass, cresting with Queen Anne’s lace, and scented with a brew of burning birch, wet ground and kelp.
To the right of the gully, and about a hundred yards down from a dirt road, is a grey, weatherbeaten house, its windows opened to the sea, and its walls slanted back, as if beaten into the hillside by the easterly winds gusting off the Atlantic and whistling up the gully’s channel. And if you were to hop onto a windowsill and look inside that house, you would see three women. The eldest sits in a rocker by a fire-blistering wood stove, her iron-grey hair hanging down around her fat-padded shoulders, and a pinched look on her wrinkled old face as she sucks on something sharp. Standing behind her, drawing a comb through the grey tresses, is another, younger, with flaming red hair, a furrow deepening her brow, and her tongue nipped betwixt her teeth as she clumsily attempts to gather the old woman’s hair into a bun and fit it into a hairnet that she dangles from one finger. Sprawled across the daybed and watching the two is me, the youngest, with fine yellow hair falling away from my forehead, and a smile, I imagine, rounding the curve of my cheek as I watch.