Books·Canadian

The Sea Between Two Shores

A book by Tanis Rideout.

Tanis Rideout

In the early 1800s, a Nova Scotian couple arrives on the shores of an island in the Oceanic archipelago of what is now known as Vanuatu to convert the local Indigenous peoples. The arrival of these strangers leads to exchange and friction, cooperation and violence, culminating in a catastrophe the missionaries unwittingly unleash on the island. 

Two hundred years later in Toronto, the Stewarts are a family locked in mourning after the accidental drowning of their youngest son. When Michelle Stewart receives an unexpected call from the island of Iparei inviting the Stewarts to participate in a reconciliation ceremony for their respective ancestors, she accepts in a desperate effort to save herself and her family. 

On Iparei, we meet the Tabés, a ni-Vanuatu family who are themselves mourning the death of a child in the aftermath of a devastating cyclone, while worrying over the looming departure of another. As the ceremony approaches, the Tabés and the Stewarts will uncover their shared losses and failings, their fragile hopes for what a better future might hold, and the wounds that stand in the way of freeing themselves from the legacy of past betrayals.     

Heart-wrenching, thought-provoking, and morally complex, The Sea Between Two Shores immerses us in the lives of two families connected as much by their desire for healing as by the actions of their ancestors. It is an extraordinary meditation on the complications of history, the possibilities for redemption, and the meaning of the stories we tell ourselves. (From McClelland & Stewart)

Tanis Rideout is the bestselling author of the novel Above All Things. She is also the author of the poetry collection Arguments with the Lake.

Rideout won second prize in the 2009 CBC Literary Awards for poetry.

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