Juliet, Sask., is a blink-of-an-eye kind of town — the welcome sign announces a population of 1,011 people — and it's easy to imagine that nothing happens on its hot and dusty streets. Situated on the edge of the Little Snake sand hills, Juliet and its inhabitants are caught in limbo between a century-old promise of prosperity and whatever lies ahead.
But the heart of the town beats in the rich and overlapping stories of its people: the foundling who now owns the farm his adoptive family left him; the pregnant teenager and her mother, planning a fairytale wedding; a shy couple, well beyond middle age, struggling with the recognition of their feelings for one another; a camel named Antoinette; and the ubiquitous wind and sand that forever shift the landscape. Their stories bring the prairie desert and the town of Juliet to vivid and enduring life. (From HarperCollins Canada)
Cool Water won the Governor General's Literary Award for fiction in 2010 and was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize.
A malaise settled over the farm families, one that they didn't quite understand. They weren't sure why they were waiting. They ate their picnics quietly, feeling strangely depressed about Henry Merchant's absence. They keep looking to the west, watching for a horse and rider to come into view. They wanted to see Henry Merchant cross the finish line, as though doing so would punctuate a disappointing day with something good.
From Cool Water by Dianne Warren ©2010. Published by HarperCollins Canada.