The Promise of Water

Judy LeBlanc - Bio and Media
pb / 2017-11 / Short Fiction /
978-0-88982-320-4 / 208pp / $19.95

Water inundates the lives of the characters in these Vancouver Island stories. While a teenage mother faces her situation, rainwater seeps under the door of her basement suite. A tree cutter, from atop a giant fir overlooking a sweeping ocean view, urinates into his wealthy customer’s flowerbed. A foster child is haunted by the image of a dying seal. A woman in a kayak, troubled by a falling out she’s had with her brother, negotiates ubiquitous rollers off the west coast. The same brother’s death lurks in three linked stories, one in which the sister believes he is reborn as a crow while in another he returns post-mortem, in human form, to discuss his ailing mother. In 1923, a woman loses her husband to a coalmine disaster and, a hundred years later, a young mother protests a coalmine just as her estranged husband returns from the oil sands. In the retrospective title story, a middle-aged man recalls the anticipation he felt as a teenager while swimming with his cousins in a lake near their home. The ephemeral quality of life, like that of water, is revealed. People die, dreams are shattered, love and redemption are found in letting go.