Canada Reads·Canadian


David Bergen's novel was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize in 2016.

David Bergen

Íso, a young Guatemalan woman, works at a fertility clinic at Ixchel, in the highlands of the Sierra Madre de Chiapas. She tends to the rich northern women who visit the clinic hoping that the waters of the nearby lake might increase their chances of conception. Íso begins an affair with the resident American doctor, Eric Mann, but their tryst does not last long. Dr. Mann decides he will return to the U.S., and a freak accident cuts the couple's time together even shorter. Before Íso can tell Dr. Mann that she is pregnant, he is gone.

After the birth of her daughter, the baby is taken from her, and the director of the clinic informs Íso that her child is in America. Determined to reclaim her stolen daughter, Íso makes her way north through Mexico, eventually crossing illegally into a United States divided into military zones. Travelling without documentation, and with little money, Íso descends into a world full of danger. In a place of shifting boundaries, Íso must determine who she can trust and how much, aware that she might lose her daughter forever. (From HarperCollins)

From the book

Íso introduced herself. She said, I'll be your keeper for the next two weeks. If you need anything, simply ask. If you're unhappy, tell me. I'm here for you. Everyone at the clinic is here for you. We only want the best. She paused briefly, then asked, Should we begin, Mrs. Mann?

From Stranger by David Bergen ©2016. Published by HarperCollins.


Featured VideoDavid Bergen on his new novel about a young Guatemalan woman who travels to a dystopian future America to reclaim her stolen daughter.
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