Let Us Be True
By Erna Buffie
Coming Fall 2023 . . .
Finalist for the Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction
Finalist for the the Eileen McTavish Sykes Award for Best First Book at the 2016 Manitoba Book Awards
Originally published by Coteau Books; displayed cover is from that edition
From the killing fields of Europe to the merciless beauty of the Canadian prairies, Let Us Be True tells the story of three women, whose lives have been shaped and damaged by secrets–their own and those that stretch back through time, casting their shadow from one generation to the next.
At the heart of the novel is 74-year-old Pearl Calder, a woman who has thrown away her past and kept it a secret from her daughters. But as Pearl confronts her own mortality, she begins to understand what her dead husband, Henry, has always known.
Secrets are like dark and angry ghosts. And they don’t just haunt you. They haunt everyone you love.
Alternating between the past and present, and between Pearl’s voice and the voices of her family members, both living and dead, the story explores how all of our lives, to a greater or lesser degree, are shaped by secrets: our own as well as ancestral secrets we may know nothing about, but which affect who we are and who we become.
Pearl is no exception. With a life that spans the Great Depression, the Second World War, and the deep conservatism of the postwar boom, Pearl’s secrets are rooted in events over which she had no control: the death of her mother; a father destroyed by war; a brother who adores her but who dies on the beaches of Dieppe, and a sister who abandons Pearl to save herself.
“Let Us Be True remains vital, present and taut throughout. A story as starkly beautiful as a prairie landscape.”- The Globe and Mail
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