Ragged Islands

Don Hannah

Published by Knopf Canada
ISBN 10: 067697791X / ISBN 13: 9780676977912
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Good clean copy with no missing pages might be an ex library copy; Possibly may have minor marginal notes and or highlighting. Bookseller Inventory #

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Synopsis: “Dark, nothing but darkness, thick and deep, and it wasn’t home, she could sense that, it was somewhere else. Susan Ann was trying to think, trying to remember the last thing she remembered — what day was this?” (p. 2)

It is September 11, 2001, and eighty-five-year-old Susan Ann Roberts is coming to the end of her life. In and out of consciousness, she is bedridden in a Toronto hospital, confused as to what has brought her to this place. Her daughter, Lorraine, and beloved granddaughter, Meg, are by her side but they seem unable (or unwilling) to take her home.

Susan Ann isn’t exactly sure where home is anymore. Lorraine had insisted her mother move to Toronto, worried about her living alone in the big house back east. Ever since, Susan Ann has been trapped—stuck in an unfamiliar city in a too-small apartment where things are so cramped that the dresser drawers in her bedroom open only partway.

Susan Ann resolves that she will return home to the Maritimes one last time. Her journey begins at the bottom of the laneway of the New Brunswick farm where she spent her summers, and takes her to the town where she grew up, and then across the ponds and rivers of the Tantramar Marshes, all the way to Nova Scotia and Ragged Islands, where she had made her home with her devoted husband and children.

As she travels on foot along old roads and visits the lost houses of her memory, Susan Ann is kept company by a dog from her distant past. Her unlikely guide propels Susan Ann forward, leading her ever closer to the place where she hopes to reunite with her husband. Along the way, they meet various people from Susan Ann’s life: a neighbour who died in a fire with her four siblings; the man who was her brother in all the most important ways; and a young woman who may hold the key to one of the great mysteries of Susan Ann’s life: why did her mother give her away to relatives to raise, despite the fact that she kept children who were born both before and after her?

Meanwhile, Susan Ann’s son, Carl, is at his mother’s Toronto apartment sorting through her belongings. He comes across an envelope labelled TO BE SAVED. In it, he discovers assorted papers, letters, and pictures that reveal his mother’s life as a woman and a wife, not just a mother. Old wounds are opened, unanswerable questions are asked, and mysteries are both solved and created.

In Ragged Islands, Don Hannah has given us a moving, witty, and tender portrait of a remarkably modern old woman at the end of a life bound by tradition and family secrets, blessed with great love, and rocked by events in the outside world. Coloured with intimate portraits of a family that seems almost familiar, Susan Ann’s journey suggests an answer to the question of what happens to the soul when the body begins to die. The final pages lead us to question what parts of a life remain behind for others to discover, how a family remembers those who have died, and where life’s final journey will take us.

About the Author: Don Hannah is the author of The Wise and Foolish Virgins, a novel, and Shoreline, a collection of plays. In 2006, he was named the Lee Playwright in Residence at the University of Alberta. Born and raised in New Brunswick, he now divides his time between the south shore of Nova Scotia and everywhere else.

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Title: Ragged Islands
Publisher: Knopf Canada
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: GOOD

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Hannah, Don
Published by Knopf Canada
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Book Description Toronto, ON: Alfred A Knopf Canada, 2007. Hardcover. Book Condition: Fine. Dust Jacket Condition: Near Fine. 1st Edition. F/NF. Lightly bumped spine end. DJ has light edge wear, light edge creasing, and light rubbing. First Canadian Edition. First Printing. Bookseller Inventory # 022702

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Book Description Alfred A. Knopf Canada, Toronto, 2007. First Edition. Near Fine in hardcover in Very Good ++ dustjacket. 22 by 16 cm. 354 pages. Pictorial dustjacket. Novel is set in Nova Scotia. Deckle page edges. Bright, clean. Bookseller Inventory # 99264

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Book Description Alfred A. Knopf Canada, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 2007. Hard Cover. Book Condition: Near Fine. Dust Jacket Condition: Near Fine. First Edition, First Printing. The book is signed by the author on the full title page. The book is near fine with very slight edge wear in a near fine dust jacket with very slight edge wear. Signed by Author. Bookseller Inventory # 012033

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