Forthcoming in April 2023 (Canada) and Fall 2023 (U.S.) with Nightwood Editions. Pre-order in Canada here.
A ’90s-era Southern Ontario Gothic about holding on to the dead, voiced with plaintive urgency and macabre sensuality.
In the small town of Burr, Ontario, thirteen-year-old Jane yearns to reunite with her recently deceased father and fantasizes about tunnelling through the earth to his coffin. This leads her to bond with local eccentric Ernest, who is still reeling from the long-ago drowning of his little sister. Jane’s mother, Meredith, escapes into wildness, enacting the past on the abandoned bed that she finds in the middle of the forest, until her daughter’s disappearance spurs her into action.
The voice of the town conveys the suspicions and subliminal fears of a rural community—a chorus of whispers that reaches a fever pitch when Jane and Ernest disappear from Burr together. Throughout, the novel is haunted by Henry, a former wrestler who once stood on his bed in the middle of the night, holding up the weight of the ceiling in his sleeping hands.
Mixing realism and the fantastic, Brooke Lockyer’s debut novel investigates the nature of grief and longing that reach beyond the grave.
Praise for Burr
“Original. Exquisitely written. Lockyer takes her story of a young girl dealing with the death of her father in directions that foil your expectations, turning a painful world of loss and mourning into a celebration of life. Utterly charming.”–Rosemary Sullivan, author of The Betrayal of Anne Frank: A Cold Case Investigation
“Gentle, wise and beautifully weird: this is a novel which takes seriously the spooky and tender dimensions of grief and our imagined afterlives…”–Gail Jones, author of Five Bells
“This is a magical novel, death-obsessed yet thrumming with life, wondrously attuned to tender and unexpected connection. I loved it! Brooke Lockyer writes like a dream. Every sentence made me see the world newly. Read Burr and be transformed.”–Catherine Bush, author of Blaze Island and The Rules of Engagement