Vikki VanSickle's Reviews > In the Field

In the Field by Claire Tacon
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's review
Jun 09, 12

bookshelves: adult-fiction, canadian

I have been eagerly anticipating this book ever since I took a writing class with the author. I always looked forward to her submissions, which were engaging and shed new light on what I previously considered mundane, every-day situations. I am so pleased that the wide world can now appreciate Claire Tacon's talents.

The book moves seamlessly from downtown Toronto to rural Nova Scotia, two very different but very recognizable Canadian settings. Ellie Lucan, who is feeling slightly un-moored in life after her university job is terminated, packs up her two young sons for a visit to Nova Scotia, where she grew up and her mother still lives. Ellie is alarmed to find signs of her mother's deterioration and vows to be more of a help, extending her visit and trying to get medical professionals involved. But the ghosts of Ellie's past are all around her, and she finds herself regressing, seeking out the attention of old flames and ultimately betting her current happiness on a flawed past and uncertain future.

This is a quiet book, full of subtle choices that propel Ellie forward in her downward spiral. Tacon's book is rich in detail, each one described in a way that feels familiar and yet totally fresh. The family is described with incredible warmth and tenderness, so that even in rough patches you feel the pull of seasoned love. Tacon accurately portrays how, in weak moments, nostalgia and the lure of the past can blind people and trap them in old, bad habits. At the end of the book there is a hint of redemption, and I put the book down feeling not only satisfied, but reassured that Ellie and her family, who I had grown to love, would be just fine. Fans of Marina Endicott's Good to a Fault, Our Lady of the Lost and Found by Diane Schoemperlen and Lisa Moore's February will especially enjoy this book.I look forward to Tacon's next offering.
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