Elin Henriksen is a middle-aged single parent under pressure. Her formidable mother's health is declining, her fearless teenage daughter wants to leave but won't say where, and the new high school principal has problems with her unorthodox teaching of physics.
And then there is the upcoming ceremony at the Art Museum. In ten days, a gallery will be named after her late father, Tig Henriksen, a modernist furniture designer whose sought-after cult pieces hide a troubled narrative. With a mixture of anticipation and dread, Elin prepares to reunite with her once-estranged siblings — Mette, a free-spirited singer-songwriter, and the serious, emotionally distant architect Casper — hoping they'll finally grapple with hard truths they've so far refused to accept.
In the countdown to the event, as her daughter's risk-taking mounts, her mother's fragility intensifies and strange packages land on her doorstep (including a yellow-eyed dog), Elin's only relief is confiding to a dead physicist.
Struggling with the paradoxes of truth and clarity, love and witness, genius and ambition, and her own ambivalent connection to her confessor, she inches toward confronting not just the explosive potential of memory but the costly fallout of silence.
Told with dazzling insight, intelligence, and compassion, Half Life is a beautifully rendered story about family truths and the profound human need to be believed. (From McClelland & Stewart)
Krista Foss is an Ontario writer, journalist and author. Her short fiction has appeared in Granta and has twice been a finalist for the Journey Prize. Her debut novel, Smoke River, won the Hamilton Literary Award.