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. This is a profound, dazzling novel about hard-won hope in the toughest of circumstances.

Guy Vanderhaeghe

Grounded in Endicott’s experience as an RCMP member’s spouse starting in Mayerthorpe, Alberta, The Observer is a spare, honest, disquieting account of intolerable stress, from one of Canada’s most beloved storytellers.

In 1992 Julia leaves her urban literary life to accompany Hardy on his first posting with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, to a tiny town on the Alberta prairie. Grounded in Endicott’s long experience as the partner of an RCMP member, this is her most tender, most vulnerable, most personal book. The Observer’s powerful and moving stillness gives us an unprecedented view of this time and place.

As Hardy disappears into long days and nights at work, Julia takes a job as editor of the local newspaper, the Observer. Interviewing people to compose a view of the town each week, she gathers knowledge of the community’s surface joys and sorrows; meanwhile, Hardy works the harder side, immersed in violence and loss, and Julia can do little more than witness his exhaustion and despair. At first this new life is an adventure—but as in all the best stories, time will darken it.

“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