Books

Y by Marjorie Celona: 2012 Giller Prize longlist selection

When a little girl is abandoned, is she also forgotten? Shannon’s story begins early one morning on the front steps of a YMCA. A young woman leaves her newborn with nothing more than the dirty sweater in which she’s wrapped, and a Swiss army knife tucked between her feet.

When a little girl is abandoned, is she also forgotten? Shannon’s story begins early one morning on the front steps of a YMCA. A young woman leaves her newborn with nothing more than the dirty sweater in which she’s wrapped, and a Swiss army knife tucked between her feet. The baby is promptly found by a man who has endured his own hardships and whose life is forever changed by this chance encounter. Shannon is quickly put into the foster system where she experiences mistreatment, abuse and neglect, but also love, security and hope. Along the way, she struggles to understand her role in a family and her abandonment as a child and to find her sense of self.

Debut author Marjorie Celona eloquently intertwines Shannon’s story with that of the girl’s birth mother, Yula, and the tragic events that led to that day outside the YMCA in a novel that is heartbreaking and optimistic. Shannon is a firecracker of a character — honest to a fault, feisty and brave. Y is a testament to the idea that family is sometimes what we create, not where we come from, and that what we make of things can matter more than anything.

Y by Marjorie Celona, $30.

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