Tuesday, July 1, 2014 |
A cross-country plane trip to the bedside of a father in a coma in Newfoundland; a pet tortoise, Winnifred, left at the mercy of an unreliable friend in Oregon. Life holds its challenges for Audrey (a.k.a. Oddly) Flowers, the narrator of Jessica Grant's charming first novel. Oddly is an unforgettable character, and Grant tells her story with quirky, endearing wit.
Come, Thou Tortoise won the 2009 Amazon.ca First Novel Award.
"Winnifred is old. She might be three hundred. She came with the apartment. The previous tenant, a rock climber named Cliff, was embarking on a rock-climbing adventure that would not have been much fun for Winnifred. Back then her name was Iris. Cliff had inherited Iris from the previous tenant. Nobody knew how old Iris was or where she had come from originally. Now Cliff was moving out. He said, Would you like a tortoise.
I would not say no to a tortoise, I said.
I was alone in Portland and the trees were giant. I picked her up and she blinked at me with her upside-down eyelids. I felt instantly calm. Her eyes were soft brown. Her skin felt like an old elbow. I will build you a castle, I whispered. With a pool. And I was true to my word."
From Come, Thou Tortoise by Jessica Grant ©2009. Published by Vintage Canada.