Books·Canadian

White Elephant

Catherine Cooper's novel follows a Canadian family that moves to Sierra Leone.

Catherine Cooper

Physician Richard Berringer, his wife, Ann, and their 13-year-old son, Torquil, have abandoned their home in Nova Scotia and moved to Sierra Leone, despite warnings that the West African country is in a civil war. Two months on, things are not going well. Tensions are rising between Richard and his boss; Torquil, who hates Sierra Leone almost as much as he hates his father, has launched a hunger strike; and Ann is bedridden with illnesses that Richard believes are all in her head. While the Berringers battle with themselves, each other and the worlds they inhabit, the narrative repeatedly returns to their past, shedding light on what brought them together, what keeps them together, why they have come to Africa and why they might not be able to go home again. (From Freehand Books)

From the book

They had to go to the High Commission first because it had recently moved and the driver wasn't sure exactly where it was or what time it closed, and they'd arrived just as the gates were being locked. The janitor asked Ann not to tell anyone that he had let her in, so when the rude man at the desk barked, "Who let you in?" as she rounded the corner at the entrance, she said, "I couldn't say," because she didn't like to lie. He tried to tell her that he couldn't release her mail because they were closed, and he made an obnoxious comment about how it was highly irregular for people to use the High Commission in this way and it was only meant to happen in extremis.


From White Elephant by Catherine Cooper ©2016. Published by Freehand Books.