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It is the Fifties in an isolated outport in Newfoundland. Nothing penetrates this antiquated existence, as television, telephones, cars, even roads, elude the villagers and the only visitors are fog-bound fishermen. Here, outside of Haire's Hollow, lives 14-year old Kit Pitman with her mentally handicapped mother Josie—both women cared for and protected by the indomitable Lizzie, Kit's grandmother. The three live a life of some hardship, but much love, punctuated by the change of seasons in the isolated gully where they live.
Then a tragic change in their circumstances brings back an old threat—that Josie be sent to an institution and Kit to an orphanage. Advancing this argument is the Reverend Ropson, who from the pulpit decries Josie as the "Gully Tramp." Defending the women is Doc Hodgson, who brought Kit into the world and knows the secrets of her birth. An uneasy truce is forged, with the Reverend's son Sid acting as spy and woodcutter, while village women supply food and gossip. Josie delights in Sid's visits, and Kit grows to love him.
There is another menace in Haire's Hollow—the notorious rapist and killer known as Shine. When Shine attacks Kit in a drunken rage, it sets off a chain of events that leads to further violence and a terrible revelation. Kit and Sid must decide which laws of God and man apply in their despairing world and how much misery they can bear.
Kit's Law is a stunning debut written with the stark rawness of character and landscape of the Rock itself. It evokes the lyrical gifts of E. Annie Proulx, the emotional power of Wally Lamb, and the compelling storytelling of Ann-Marie MacDonald. At its centre is the innocence and determination of Kit herself, a young woman who experiences extremes of pain on the way to redemption. As she says: "It is better to sense nothing at all, to move through the world and glimpse it from a distance, then to split God's gift in half and live in its underside, with no rays of light dispersing the darkness."
window, looking out over his shoulder at the sea rolling up over the shore. Wrapping the blanket around me, I settled more comfortably in the chair. This was one night when I was going to sit, watching and brooding, alongside of him. CHAPTER THIRTY KIT’S LAW T HE NEXT DAY I WAS ON MY WAY TO ST. JOHN’S. It was hard to tell if it was the journey itself or its destination that was filling me with the most fear. Clinging to my rattling seat in the Newfie Bullet, we thundered across meadows and
to believe that they’ve all brought a deeper consciousness, and for that, perhaps, they were worth it. Still, if I could live my life in hindsight, ohh, there are sooo many things I’d do differently … Q: All of your novels and many of your stories are set in Newfoundland or on the east coast. What is it about this region that continues to interest you? Can you see yourself writing about other provinces, other cities, other landscapes? Actually, my most recent novel, What They Wanted, plays
homework and reading. The one problem that kept upsetting things was when Josie forgot to split the firewood. She didn’t usually. Cleaving wood was her one chore since she was a gaffer, and one she was always intent on doing. And during that first year after Nan’s passing, she most always kept the woodbox filled and splits ready for the morning’s fire. But, it appeared as if she became more and more despondent over time, and chopping wood became another one of those things that she didn’t care
to wash my hair,” she muttered, blowing on the hot tea to cool it, and slurping it back. Glowering up at me as I continued to stand there, she rose to her feet in a huff and stomped down the hallway to her room, slopping the tea over her cup with each thumping footstep. “I’ll have a word with her,” said Doctor Hodgins, laying his cup on the table. “Don’t worry about Sid,” he said, squeezing my arm reassuringly as he walked past me. “I got a good feeling about that boy.” He tapped on Josie’s
and Sid … dating?” This last word was spoke with such a thickening of his tongue that I cowered from its loathing. Staring out the window at the unfamiliar brooks and meadows sweeping past us, I felt again the wrath of the reverend the day he caught me with my foot in Sid’s lap, and the repulsive smell of rotting dogberries as I had stood before him—somehow, shamed. “I didn’t do anything,” I muttered bitterly. Doctor Hodgins stared at me in some surprise. “I’m not suggesting that you did. I