Dive in. Turn to water before it freezes.
I didn’t know what a quarry was until I saw the one that would belong to us. A pit carved for mining. Dig what you need—the dynamite gap—leave a hole for evidence. Don’t think about air filling it up. Air fills up everything. Water makes the quarry more than it is; the blue we were drawn to. On the dock, looking out. My mother on one side. My father, the other. Their big shoulders pressing me in.
Set in southern Ontario during the 1980’s, acclaimed poet Catherine Graham’s debut novel is layered like the open-pit mine for which it is named. Caitlin Maharg, an only child, lives in a house by a water-filled limestone quarry whose gothic presence is elemental to the story.
With loving parents and what appears to be an idyllic upbringing, much has been kept from her and she learns that her mother is dying. But there are things Caitlin knows in a wordless way, the way she knows every inch of the quarry. By the time she’s in her last year of university, her losses multiply. And when a series of family secrets emerges, Caitlin learns to rely on her inner strength. She gains the confidence she needs to confront her maternal grandmother and carry out her father’s last wish.
Lyrically charged, jewelled with images, and at times darkly comic, Graham’s prose weaves a mysterious and hypnotic tale of loss, deception, family shame, and the courage to swim the depths of life alone.
Praise for Quarry
“Spare and searing, gentle yet tough, Quarry is a beautifully crafted novel about loss, identity, and a woman’s freedom to choose life over death. Written by one of Canada’s leading poet-turned novelists, Quarry explores one woman’s journey as she uncovers the layers of secrecy and tragedy that have shaped her small but close family. After the death of her parents, Caitlin Maharg finds that, like the sedimentary rock that defines her family’s home, it is often not easy to remove the layers of habit and half-truths that threaten to bury her alive.”
— Ibi Kaslik, author of Skinny and The Angel Riots
“Quarry flows through the legacies and layers of grief, and emerges into the joy and shock of discovery. It is a wonderful book.”
— Ken Murray, author of Eulogy
“Written in gorgeous, focused language, Quarry pulls us effortlessly through a forest of half-truths and family myths where we find how love can beget disaster and how secrets can give birth to isolation. This book sweeps forward, turning expectations inside out, giving us relationships that feel so real you’ll flinch, and revelations both startling and inevitable. As we peel back the layers of Caitlin’s family, Caitlin herself is acquiring layers, growing from a raw, untested girl to a woman who readers will cheer for.”
— Grace O’Connell, author of Magnified World and Be Ready for the Lightning