Kevin Patterson's first book, the bestselling memoir The Water in Between, recounted his adventures sailing to Tahiti and back. It was published by Random House Canada, Nan A. Talese Books in the US, and Viking Penguin in the UK. He has now written his first novel, which is based on his own experiences as a doctor in Northern Canada.
Consumption follows an Inuit family between 1960 and the present, as they come off the tundra and settle in a community on the shore of Hudson Bay. The protagonist, Victoria, is sent south for treatment of her tuberculosis, and when she returns, she has become an outcast. Her friend Balthazar, a doctor, has been flung up north by the same cultural disintegration and loneliness that pulls at Victoria and her family. He treats Inuit patients suffering from largely European diseases, while trying to understand the forces at work on their community.
When violence strikes their world, Kevin Patterson shows how the tenuous bonds of friendship, love and family fly apart. And then at last, with great feeling, he evokes the unexpectedly tender ways in which the survivors struggle to their feet and carry on.
E Annie Proulx
Nan A Talese/Doubleday
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