A haunting canvas of jealousy, betrayal and atonement that can take its rightful place alongside Fall on Your Knees and Mercy Among the Children.
1970. A tiny fisherman’s shack on the dark Nova Scotia coast, eccentrically covered with folk art images (à la Maud Lewis), which are all the work of a benign, disfigured mute whom the locals dismiss as a misshapen nobody. Miss Elva. Only one man knows that the whimsical, primitive art old Elva painfully creates is her voice, damning the madness of love and lamenting decades of lies.
He is also the only person still alive who remembers Elva as she was in the summer of 1927, a crippled little thing in the shadow of her beautiful half-sister, Jane. That peculiar summer of snow and rum-runners when the black sheep Gil returned to a troubled town for his father’s funeral, dogged by sin and retribution — only to find that his handsome twin brother, Dom, has become Jane’s lover. The unhappy reunion breeds rivalry and self-loathing, complicated by racial violence and religious intolerance. And Elva, missing nothing and hoping to free those she loves from pain, unwittingly unleashes the fire that destroys them all.
A master of narrative tension, Stephens Gerard Malone saves one last twist for the end — the “miracle” of redemption — driving home his evocative tale of jealousy and its disturbing consequences.
From the Hardcover edition.
About Stephens Gerard Malone
Stephens Gerard Malone has been a mortgage clerk in Calgary, a silver-service waiter in New Zealand, an envelope stuffer in Toronto and a sex-advice columnist. His first novel, Miss Elva, was a finalist for the Dartmouth Book Award. He lives… More about Stephens Gerard Malone
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Published by Vintage Canada Apr 13, 2011| ISBN 9780307369994
“Miss Elva distills the panoramic small-town tragedy down to its narrative essence, and the result is a strange and stangely elegant little book whose tense momentum rarely wanes.” –Quill & Quire
“A relentlessly action-packed, often menacing story of love and loss. . . . To label this novel ‘gothic’ would be to undermine its almost feral energy. . . . The characters, however, are well drawn and intense, and even the minor ones are memorable. There is some lovely writing, as well. –National Post
“Miss Elva is a deeply poignant story, fashioned by a writer whose sensitivity to his characters holds us to its bittersweet ending.” –Donna Morrissey, author of Kit’s Law and Sylvanus Now
“A page-turning chronicle of lust, drunkenness, violence and deceit set on Nova Scotia’s craggy coast 80 years ago. Stephens Gerard Malone is the chronicler, and this first-time author and Maritimer-by-choice doesn’t miss a beat. Miss Elva is plot plus. It’s an action-driven narrative thickened with wonderful tension as back story and present action meet in a harrowing climax of murder, fire and flood. . . . Malone masterfully captures the grinding poverty of his characters and their place in history. . . . A thing of beauty. . . . In Elva, Malone has created a knowing character, and yet a lack of sentimentality keeps her totally believable. . . . An entirely readable novel that manages to transcend its insalubrious setting.” –Edmonton Journal