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How a Woman Becomes a Lake
Cover of How a Woman Becomes a Lake
How a Woman Becomes a Lake
From the Giller-nominated author of Y comes How a Woman Becomes a Lake, a taut, suspenseful novel about the dark corners of a small town, and the secrets that lurk within...It's New Year's Day and the...
From the Giller-nominated author of Y comes How a Woman Becomes a Lake, a taut, suspenseful novel about the dark corners of a small town, and the secrets that lurk within...It's New Year's Day and the...
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  • From the Giller-nominated author of Y comes How a Woman Becomes a Lake, a taut, suspenseful novel about the dark corners of a small town, and the secrets that lurk within...
    It's New Year's Day and the residents of a small fishing town are ready to start their lives anew. Leo takes his two young sons out to the lake to write resolutions on paper boats. That same frigid morning, Vera sets out for a walk with her dog along the lake, leaving her husband in bed with a hangover.
    But she never returns. She places a call to the police saying she's found a boy in the woods, but the call is cut short by a muffled cry. Did one of Leo's sons see Vera? What are they hiding about that day? And why are they so scared of their own father?
    Told from shifting perspectives, How a Woman Becomes a Lake is a compelling, lyrical novel about family, new beginnings, and costly mistakes, and asks, what do you do when the people who are meant to love you the most, fail?

Excerpts-

  • From the cover Chapter One

    Lewis

    He found the car in the second parking lot at Squire Point, doors splayed, engine on. It was a fancy car—something Lewis Côté could never dream of owning. He climbed into the driver's seat, scanned the expensive leather, ran his hands over the plush black steering wheel, and took the keys out of the ignition. Through the car's open doors, the snow fell around him, landed on his thighs, and blew into his hair. Someone had drawn a pattern in the condensation on the passenger side window—crosshatches, as if to play tic-tac-toe. Lewis rooted through the glove compartment, checked under the seats, spun around. The back seat was covered in grey and white dog hair, so Lewis whistled and clapped, and after a few minutes, a nice-looking dog—a husky, perhaps—emerged from the woods, its fur caked with snow.

    "Hey, boy," Lewis said, patting the dog's head and letting the dog lick his hands. "Help me out here."

    They walked together, Lewis having fashioned a makeshift leash from a rope he had in the trunk of his patrol car. The trail was icy and Lewis's boots slid out from under him. He walked like a duck to keep his balance. The cold air slivered his lungs. There was no reason to draw his gun, but his free hand hovered by his hip, in case.

    An hour ago, a woman named Vera Gusev had called the station from the Squire Point pay phone, saying that she had found a little boy. She was at the second parking lot, she said, the boy keeping warm in her car. He had been separated from his father in the woods and was cold but fine—and that was all she said. The sound of her dropping the receiver, it clanging off the side of the phone booth, a muffled cry that could have been "hey" or "wait," then nothing. Lewis had driven cautiously to the scene, the roads slick. New Year's Day was a quiet one on the job, everyone asleep, hung over, or in jail from whatever nonsense they'd gotten up to the night before. He cursed himself now for taking his time.

    When had it ever been this cold? The blizzard had come at the end of November, blanketing the whole region, and then the temperature had plunged. All anyone could talk about was the weather. Not in eighty years had so much snow fallen. Most people in Whale Bay didn't even own proper winter coats. Usually it snowed once or twice a year, an inch or two, and melted by the morning. The blizzard was fun at first. School cancelled; everyone out walking. The army was called in to salt the roads. No plows—there wasn't money for that. Anyone from the East Coast—or the Midwest, as was the case with Lewis—thought this was a non-event, silly even. The high comedy of shovelling a driveway with a cookie sheet, a casserole dish, the lid of a garbage can. The snow was so high that children knocked down foot-long icicles from the street lights and used them as swords.

    Only one death so far: a man whose car had filled with carbon monoxide as he waited for his windshield to defrost, the tailpipe clogged with snow. There wasn't much sympathy for him. Should've known better. Maybe suicide then. A homeless man had almost died of hypothermia, but was fine—had been interviewed by the local news while eating a dish of ice cream in his hospital bed.


    Of course, the requisite traffic accidents and power outages. A fist fight in a grocery store over the last carton of milk. Some looting. A collapsed roof, a destroyed greenhouse. Mostly, though, the eerie silence that accompanies so much snow, and the inevitable camaraderie from enduring an out-of-the-ordinary event. A return to kindness, Lewis thought. The simplicity of...

About the Author-

  • MARJORIE CELONA's debut novel, Y, won France's Grand Prix Littéraire de l'Héroïne and was nominated for the 2012 Scotiabank Giller Prize. A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, Marjorie's work has appeared in The O. Henry Prize Stories, The Best American Nonrequired Reading, The Southern Review, Harvard Review, The Sunday Times, and elsewhere. Born and raised on Vancouver Island, Marjorie teaches in the MFA Program at the University of Oregon.

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