Alone in the Classroom
Elizabeth Hay's novel crosses generations and cuts to the bone of universal truth about love and our relationship with the past. In 1930, a school principal in Saskatchewan is suspected of abusing a student. Seven years later, on the other side of the country, a girl picking wild cherries meets a violent end. These are only two of the mysteries in the life of the narrator's charismatic aunt, Connie Flood.
As the narrator Anne pieces together her aunt's lifelong attachment to her former student Michael Graves and her obsession with Parley Burns, the inscrutable principal implicated in the assault of Michael's younger sister, her own story becomes connected with that of the past, and the triangle of principal, teacher, student opens out into other emotional triangles — aunt, niece, lover; mother, daughter, granddaughter — until a sudden, capsizing love changes Anne's life. Alone in the Classroom is Elizabeth Hay's most tense, intricate and seductive novel yet. (From McClelland & Stewart)