coming September 12 2023, Knopf Canada

Marina Endicott has a rare gift, given to only a very few writers: the ability to write about decency with clear-eyed conviction. The Observer radiates love, a young woman’s love for her partner, a good cop who struggles with depression, and love for her children, unanticipated gifts. A profound, dazzling novel about hard-won hope in the toughest of circumstances. GUY VANDERHAEGHE

Grounded in Endicott’s own experience in Mayerthorpe, Alberta, The Observer is an essential story from one of Canada’s most beloved storytellers.

Julia arrives in Medway in 1992, going with Hardy to his first posting with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Dropped into a tiny rural town on the Alberta prairie, a world beyond her experience, she struggles to come to terms with Hardy’s work. At first their new life together is an adven­ture, but as in all the best stories, time will darken it.

I’m still marvelling at this novel’s disorienting juxtaposition of natural beauty, familial tenderness and everyday terror. The story of a marriage forged inside a crucible of unspoken trauma—extraordinary, affecting and unforgettable. LYNN COADY

When Hardy disappears into long days and nights as a new recruit, Julia takes a job as editor of the local newspaper, the Observer. Interviewing local people to compose a view of the town each week, she gains some understanding of the commu­nity’s surface joys and sorrows; meanwhile Hardy is immersed in violence and loss, and Julia can only witness his increasing exhaus­tion, even his despair.

The Observer’s powerful and moving stillness gives us a quietly devastating account of intolerable stress—a window into the reality of this time and place, and what it means to keep the peace.

An in-depth portrait of a young RCMP officer and his family—the debilitating trauma the job exacts, the silence that accompanies the damage, the soul-quaking isolation. It’s also a testament to love, loyalty, duty and patience; the desire to make things right; and the power of bearing witness. Endicott’s prose is clean, light, swift. Readers will leave this book altered, more compassionate, with a deeper understanding of how power works, and how it fails us. LISA MOORE

a new RCMP recruit and his wife walk down a dirt road
At Depot, Regina, 1992

photo: Bill Ormshaw