2009 Winner Northern Lit Award
Jackfish, The Vanishing Village tells the story of a woman unravelling from a traumatic past and her yearning for redemption. When her sister dies prematurely, Clemance-Marie Nadeau leaves her family and village behind, boarding a train bound for Sault Ste. Marie, where she falls under the spell of a charming stranger who promises her a life of adventure, and then holds her captive with her guilt and his threats of violence. Years later, when Clemance moves to the United States, she feels like an outsider, but Clemance is also in exile from herself. Discovering she is pregnant at the age of forty-two sets in motion a series of events that awakens a painful memory, long-buried in her embattled body, and so begins the long and sometimes harrowing journey back to her homeland, and to herself.
“Sarah Burns is a gifted writer. Jackfish may have disappeared from the map, but Burns makes it unforgettable. The narrator of this imaginary memoir, Clemance-Marie Nadeau, is a unique individual. The subtle style, effective images, and ambitious structure of the narration draw us into Clemance’s world and make us care about her and those around her. This book is thought-provoking and moving feminist fiction.”
—Valerie Raoul, Director of the SAGA Centre for Studies in Autobiography, Gender and Age at the University of British Columbia.
“Jackfish, The Vanishing Village is a fascinating read! Clemance-Marie’s poignant, harrowing journey back to Jackfish carried me through the gamut of anger, rage, shame, shock, grief and elation. Sarah Burns’s novel is a powerful and moving narration of a woman’s search for redemption.”
—Tygre A. Wynters, author of Love’s Second Chance