Open Arms

by Marina Endicott

February 2009
6 x 9 paper 256 pages
ISBN 978-1-55111-932-8
CDN $23.95

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Finalist for the Amazon/Books in Canada First Novel Award

A broken heart, that old phrase; I didn’t realize it would feel like a plate breaking in the middle of your chest.

Bessie Smith Connolly has lived with her Nova Scotia grandparents since she was small. But at seventeen—grieving the death of her steadfast grandfather, smarting from a split with the boy she loves—she escapes to Saskatoon to be with her mother, Isabel. Bittersweet, clear-eyed, and deeply affecting, this marvellous debut novel charts Bessie’s course as she makes her way through her exploded family and out into the world.

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PRAISE FOR OPEN ARMS

Open Arms is an impressive debut. It tackles a subject as old as life itself and gives it a newness and an honesty. Marina Endicott is a writer to watch.”
The Hamilton Spectator

“Endicott’s writing is clear as fast-running water and hard as gemstones. She writes with wisdom, grace and conviction. Open Arms demonstrates a lucid, hard-won faith in the ability of people to find love and hold on tight. It’s hard to imagine wishing for anything more.”
The Vancouver Sun

Open Arms, by Marina Endicott, meets one of my major criteria for successful novels: three weeks after reading it I can still recall characters, scenes, and events… Endicott is an excellent storyteller and this is a substantial, sweet-natured novel, full of hope and promise.”
–W. P. Kinsella, Books in Canada

“[Endicott’s] novel offers lucid, unembellished prose that hides convolutions of deeper meaning. Six girls and women are the linked heroines of this deceptively episodic tale–deceptive because events scattered over thousands of miles and several decades are finally fused into a striking emotional whole, a continuum of fractured, rarely spoken, but persistent and mysterious love.”
The Globe and Mail

Open Arms is the story of a young woman’s quest. Her search is for a mother, her hope is for a final, hard-won comprehension, a reprieve from the ache of being human. But, as in the finest of quest stories, comprehension does not come at some big, dramatic end, it comes all along the complicated way. Marina Endicott’s vision is evidence that the journey itself, although lonely and uncharted, can be filled with both clues and consolation.”
Bonnie Burnard, author of A Good House