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Kit's Law

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Kit's Law is the passionate, well-told story of three feisty female characters struggling against imposed order and male tradition in a harsh Newfoundland outport. Lizzy is the steadfast grandmother; crazy, red-haired Josie, the mother; and Kit, the 14-year-old daughter who tells their story. Like a maritime cutter, the narrative sails along smoothly, and much of the dialogue is in the distinctive argot of that windy Atlantic island: "When it's clear like ice and ribbed on the bottom--that's the killin' frost. Your berries are dead. Good for moose and caribou pickin's. Now, there's them that picks 'em anyway, and that's why their jam is as tart as a whore's arse."

With its partridgeberry patches, moose stew, and endless cups of tea, this is quintessential Newfoundland. After Lizzy dies, the nasty local pastor wants to put Kit in an orphanage and Josie in an appropriate institution. The compassionate Doctor Hodgins becomes their staunch defender against both do-gooders and those plotting Kit's downfall. This first novel is a female coming-of-age story of the rural variety, replete with endemic poverty, good-hearted and downright evil village people, and the constant irritant of Newfoundland's raw, nasty weather. It is also the touching story of Kit's first love, and it reads like a breeze. --Mark Frutkin

383 pages

First published January 1, 1999

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About the author

Donna Morrissey

13 books219 followers

Donna Morrissey has written six nationally bestselling novels. She has received awards in Canada, the U.S., and England. Her novel Sylvanus Now was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, and she was nominated for a Gemini for best writing for the film Clothesline Patch. Her fiction has been translated into several different languages. Born and raised in Newfoundland, she now lives in Halifax.
She recently wrote a children’s book, Cross Katie Kross, illustrated by her daughter, Bridget. Morrissey grew up in The Beaches, a small fishing outport in Newfoundland & Labrador and now lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

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5 stars
971 (31%)
4 stars
1,271 (41%)
3 stars
643 (21%)
2 stars
111 (3%)
1 star
44 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 198 reviews
Profile Image for Ruthie.
647 reviews4 followers
August 11, 2017
Donna Morrissey's first novel is just breathtaking. The writing is so good, the storyline is mesmerizing and the action rarely lets go. Morrissey has a talent for developing fully rounded characters and her descriptions bring the small Newfoundland coastal town to life.
I was a bit nervous about reading this one as the blurbs on the cover made it sound so grim and disturbing, but I found that although Kit lives a tough life, and things rarely work out for her, she does have allies and people who love her and are there for her. This is a novel that will stick with me. Highly recommended!
Profile Image for Mary Anne.
616 reviews15 followers
July 4, 2017
A wonderful first novel that gives us the savour of small town life with the generosity, hypocrisy, callous gossip, and cohesion that such a small town provides. There are funny, happy, sad, and horrible moments in the novel, but overarching it all is the incredible kindness that can be found in a small town.
Profile Image for R K.
493 reviews66 followers
September 16, 2017
Well, it is as I said, this book was one giant soap opera.

Cast of Characters
Kit: A young teenager living in the 50's with her Grandmother (Lizzy) and mentally disabled mother (Josie). Isolated from the rest of the village due to her mother and under constant fear that she will be taken away from her family and placed in an orphanage, Kit maintains a quiet mouse-like persona. Taking whatever people throw at her in silence. She goes through life essentially as a ghost.

Lizzy: An old lady with much fortitude. This lady has guts, gun, and a voice to match them all. Never to be brushed aside or told what to do, Lizzy is the bad ass grandma that values family no matter how estranged it is. Taking the responsibility to raising Kit while keeping an eye on Josie, she instills lessons onto Kit and tells her that this place will always be her home.

Josie A fiery red headed women with a mind of a child. We don't know exactly what the problem with Josie is other then the fact that she is literally a child stuck in the body of a grownup. Hence, her actions, words, and behaviour is all like the way a child acts. This is a fact that Kit is neither able to understand nor work with.

The Setting
Taking place in a small fishing village in Newfoundland, this is the story of the fight 3 women (soon to become 2) have to make in order to assert their right to live life as they see fit. To take control of their fate and not rest it upon "God's Law".

This was a book filled with drama (ironic for such a small village) and has multiple plot lines going at once. It's fun and entertaining for sure but it has some issues. There are so many subplots going on and some start to overtake the main story line. By the end of the book, you couldn't even tell that we were going to end up here. That's not to say that the book was unpredictable. On the contrary, I found it to be very predictable. But rather, what was delivered was not what was expected. The tale of a teen girl forming a bond with her mother was there but became heavily overshadowed by the amount of drama going on. Drama caused by wait for it........LOVE.
Oh but this is not your typical love story. No sir indeed. This is one that takes a (predictable) twist and really questions how far a person can take their life into their hands until it becomes morally questionable.

Honestly, there were 2 issues I had with this book.
The first was that it was too fast paced. The writing while hooking was very rushed and time went by incredibly quickly. For example, we are mourning the death of Lizzy for a couple of pages only to be told on the next page right after that an entire year passed. AN ENTIRE YEAR. Character relationships while nice, progressed at too quick of a rate. What you could take for a couple of days were actually months in their world.

The second issue was that this book tried to be one of those books that presents some deep fodder to chew on. But it tried so hard it was obvious and in combination with the fast pace, it ended up falling flat on it's face. It didn't hinder the reading experience but there were eye rolls and exasperated sighs when those moments came.

In the end, if you liked Little House on the Prairie but want a version with some darker themes, then read this book. Don't expect a masterpiece but something fun to take you mind out of the world for a bit.
Profile Image for Mj.
515 reviews69 followers
July 17, 2017
Kit’s Law by Donna Morrissey is a very moving novel. It is both heart wrenching and gut wrenching. And be forewarned that while there are light moments and joy throughout, the plot includes a lot of sadness and describes a great deal of pain and suffering caused by the selfish and uncaring acts of a few.

Morrissey shows us the good and bad in small seaport communities - the shunning and ostracizing, the bullying and making fun of - actions seen by children in all communities, big or small. In this town, there are also adults being mean to an innocent child, to a woman with challenges, and to an old woman who loves and cares for the innocent child and the woman with challenges. Judgmental standards and intolerance for differences from the perceived norm motivate their meanness. There are also secrets behind these persecutions and ongoing attempts to use the church and God’s supposed wishes to break up the trio.

There are also many generous people in the community. There’s local Doctor Hodgins who cares for patients at all hours of the day or evening and who is particularly close and helpful to this all-female household of Lizzie (aka Nan,) Josie and Kit. A local fisherman named Old Joe is Lizzie’s card playing partner and often helps out with a fresh catch and a smile. After Nan dies, and Josie and Kit are on their own, more people step up to help. Auntie Drucie is a sweetie who checks in regularly and helps with household chores. Others drop off food, mend or make new clothes and send other necessities. Sid, a schoolmate of Kit’s takes care of chopping wood and keeping the woodpile full after Josie, traumatized by Lizzie’s death, is no longer able can to continue with this chore. It’s a small community with a myriad of interesting citizens that Morrissey has created. She well describes the traits and idiosyncrasies of each and keeps us interested by detailing all their various connections and interactions.

There were lots of tears and crying in this novel. Kit is the innocent child, who is stoic and has been tear-free most of her life, despite her experiences of isolation and harassment from others her age. For the first time, when she is just about to turn thirteen, she starts shedding a few tears and letting things out that she has held inside previously. The reason - her grandmother or loving Nan dies. Lizzie is the old woman many in the community dislike and who has effectively raised Kit as her own daughter on behalf of her challenged daughter who is incapable of living on her own, never mind bringing up a youngster. Kit’s thoughts on Page 54 ‘Tears swelled in my eyes and I felt Doctor Hodgins sit down besides me as great wrenching sobs heaved out of my chest. And if it weren’t for his hands holding onto my shoulders, I believe I would’ve sobbed my soul into heaven that day, leaving behind a sack of skin and bones as dry as the skin coating Nan’s feet.’

At the age of sixteen, just over three years later, with a lot of heartache in between, Kit is pretty well cried out. On Page 382 there’s another sharing with Doctor Hodgins. ‘My voice caught and I laid my cheek on Doctor Hodgin’s shoulder, breathing deeply of his warm, familiar smell, allowing the few tears I had left to seep down my face. “I don’t know where all the water comes from,” I sobbed, “I’ve cried so much.”

Morrissey’s character development is excellent. I really liked Lizzie (Kit’s grandmother who Kit calls Nan). She was a strong and fierce woman, outspoken and a straight shooter and at times a bit of a curmudgeon who defends her daughter and granddaughter to others no matter what, while also loving each unconditionally and raising them with rules, chores and love for others in their hearts. I wish she had not passed away so soon. By Page 54 her physical body was no longer in the story - only her spirit and the results of her parenting and other good works. I hope Morrissey reads reviews and Nan might be featured in her own book one day.

I am not a Newfoundlander, so read with my praises with some reservation, especially those of who are from Newfoundland and are more knowledgeable about these things. My viewpoint is from an outsider looking in. I thought Morrissey’s use of dialogue was terrific and she seemed to accurately capture the phrasing and local idiosyncrasies of Newfoundlanders. I thought she reflected well the lyricism and lilting found in the Big Island people’s speech and that Morrissey’s imitation of the accents and local slang was spot on.

It is hard to describe the emotional trip that Morrissey took me on. From the first page, it was an emotional roller coaster and page-turner. I was so immersed in the characters, the meanness and story line; I was exhausted whenever I stopped reading. And yet….I didn’t want to put the book down. I was fully invested in wanting to see good win over evil and seeing mean people get their come-uppance, that I could not stop reading. There was a short time at about page 250 when I started finding things a bit sluggish and was feeling a bit of “been there, read that.” However, it did not last too long. I thought the last 75 pages and the book’s wrap up was one of the more satisfactory conclusions to a book I have recently read. Predictable? Both yes and no but the key was it felt very authentic. It totally got me into Kit’s head, soul, emotions and character. I felt as if I was there in person with Kit to the point that I had to put the book down before continuing with the last chapter. The tension and seriousness of what was ahead felt overwhelming and foreboding. Reading the book was an emotionally draining experience for me. Morrissey had me that invested and engaged in the outcome.

4 1/2 stars due to the slight slowdown. So…so…close to a perfect 5 stars read. With Goodreads marking scheme rather than being able to give a score of 9 out of 10, or 6 out of 7, I will be rounding down to 4 stars. It’s a tough, emotional but rewarding read. The read was both gut and heart wrenching as mentioned earlier but well worth it - a wonderful book captures the spirit of Newfoundland’s geography. The oftentimes-harsh ocean dominates and shapes all who live there. This same toughness is in the spirit of the key characters in Kit’s Law - strong to the core, fierce in love and loyal to the end. Kit turns out to be very much like her Nan, who would have been so proud to see her all grown up.

The writing was exceptional. Here’s one more example. On Page 311 there’s a thought by Kit after observing her good friend and terrific wife and mother Loret, in the midst of the chaos and activity of many of her children running around amongst adults who are swearing and fighting. ‘All this flowed past Loret like an irksome summer’s rain that drenched you to the skin, while bathing you its softness.’

The balance between character development (people and locale) and plot or story line was exceptional. It is not often that one has a chance to read such a moving novel and at the same time read a well-written literary page-turner. Well worth reading. 4 1/2 stars rounded down to 4 stars….but only because it was so, so slightly shy of perfection.
Profile Image for Carolyn Gerk.
197 reviews15 followers
November 19, 2009
I started off enjoying this book a lot. It was a breeze to get through, though I felt like 1950's Newfoundland sounded a little bit like Little House on the Prairie, so maybe the newfies are a bit behind on the times. I would like to have heard more about Josie's story, as it was her struggle that interested me more than Kit's did.
The characters are simple and a little bit cliche, but it felt like a getaway story depsite the bleak outcomes of mcuh of it.
This was the first two thirds of the book. Then came the twist. It all fel apart after that. I burned through the rest as quickly as I could as it left a bad taste in my mouth. I wanted to move on to a new book and forget about this one. Kit felt like a wholly different character in this section, and Josie was more or less forgotten.
I wanted to give it three stars becasue the coming of age adolescent struggle that made up the bulk of the novel was graet, but I just couldnt overlook how much I wanted to be done with the book in the end. And how much Kit had changed into a character I didnt like anymore.
Profile Image for Emmkay.
1,183 reviews76 followers
July 16, 2017
A real page-turner, this is a coming-of-age story about a teenage girl living in a small Newfoundland outport community in the 1950s with her indomitable grandmother and her developmentally delayed mother. When her grandmother dies, Kit is determined to continue to live alone with her mother, who is looked down on by many community members as the town tramp. The major plot twist wasn't a big surprise, and the characters are very broadly drawn, but it was a very engaging read that conveyed a sense of place and time.
Profile Image for Carlyn.
11 reviews
February 12, 2015
I so enjoyed the book that I was rather sad when it ended. I love stories that take me to another time and place where I get a glimpse of lives so different from my own. That being said, I had pretty well figured out the plot early so the big reveal was no surprise. What I did like was how the situation was eventually resolved. I loved the lyrical language and the descriptions of Newfoundland.
Profile Image for ❀ Susan G.
690 reviews52 followers
September 1, 2017


Desolate, devastating and resilient are words that describe both the struggling characters and the rough terrain of Newfoundland of Kit’s Law. This strong writing remains with the reader long after the book is closed with a reader puzzling how other members of the small town could treat a family so poorly. I have to admit that the first couple of chapters were a bit slow but once I got into the story, it was hard to put the book down!

The novel is the story of Kit, a young girl living with her feisty grandmother and her “wild” yet intellectually challenged mother. They live in a remote outport and fight for their independence from the nasty local pastor who preaches against them and has led the fight to have Kit placed in an orphanage. This book is has strong characters that are described so that the reader has strong emotional reactions to them. The reader admires the feisty independence of Kit yet cringes at the descriptions of some of the men.

I had been lucky to meet Donna Morrissey who was born in Newfoundland. She was engaging and enthusiastic while keeping the audience laughing! This was her first novel which began as a short story and lengthened into a book as she wrote at her mother’s bedside. Her mother argued against happy endings and sadly, her mother died before the evening before it was accepted by the publisher.

This is a great novel and I am looking forward to reading more books by Donna Morrissey including Sylvanus Now which is the first in a series leading to The Fortunate Brother which is the book that I have signed.
Profile Image for Janet Berkman.
403 reviews32 followers
April 3, 2016
What a lovely piece of writing. This novel grabs you and doesn't let you go. Set in a Newfoundland outport in the '50s, it's the story of Kit, a young teenager at the beginning of the story. She lives with her grandmother and mother, who is mentally disabled. Kit doesn't know who her father is.

The novel is full of interesting characters, some who support Kit and many who hate her. Like every small town, some have more knowledge about Kit's situation than others, and many bully her and her family. The story arc is beautifully formed, and the conclusion is satisfying.

Highly recommended. I would read anything else by Donna Morrisey.
Profile Image for 'Nathan Burgoine.
Author 47 books416 followers
January 19, 2014
One of the best books I've read by a contemporary Canadian Author, I put up a review of this book on Amazon.com, and got an e-mail from her!

When she visited Ottawa to do a book reading, she stopped by the store I worked for at the time and signed my copy and personalized it, so this one is only available for loaning to locals who will send it back thereafter.

This is a great story set in East-Coast Canada, and has one young girl struggling to survive against some nasty family secrets, taking care of a developmentally delayed mother, and surviving on her own.
Profile Image for Trix Van E.
25 reviews1 follower
August 19, 2012
While it's been some time since I read this book and I have forgotten many plot details, the novel has stayed with me. The characters were very strong, the story inexorably draws toward a kind of doom and the overall tragedy of the story haunts me still.

If you expect lightness and joy, this isn't for you but if you can get dirty with some raw emotions, then perhaps you'll enjoy it too. I certainly did.
Profile Image for Rita.
52 reviews19 followers
October 21, 2017
Extraordinary book--the plot's twists and turns, the sentences, Newfie vernacular, character development, and piercings of the heart. It was all there for me. I'm in awe of such talented writing.
Profile Image for Philip.
395 reviews10 followers
January 18, 2020
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe meets To Kill a Mockingbird.

Book Club
Profile Image for Brandon.
74 reviews14 followers
May 7, 2019
I was given this book to read for a novel study for high school upgrading at first I was abit off to read it but once I did I was surprised that it was a pretty decent story about a young girl in a Newfoundland community who’s life is anything but normal and the dark secrets of the community and struggles this girl Kit goes through!! It’s def worth a read if you have the spare time!!
34 reviews1 follower
February 25, 2021
This story is a vivid description about the harsh life of a girl growing up in an outport village on the Northern peninsula of Newfoundland. A story of passions, tragedy, sin and redemption told with passion and emotion. As like many stories set in small community NL, the book describes the desperation and struggles to survive in such harsh northern environments with emphasis on the important of building & maintaining strong bonds with family and friends. Morrissey weaves a good tale and describes her characters with warmth and affection.

Profile Image for Candi.
75 reviews9 followers
April 5, 2021
4.5 stars What a debut novel! This novel took me to a sea soaked eastern Canadian village, filled with nosey town folk and simple times. Amazing storytelling and lovable characters.
Profile Image for Laurie • The Baking Bookworm.
1,403 reviews368 followers
September 12, 2014
My Review: The fact that this book is set in a remote Newfoundland village in the 1950's caught my attention since I'm always on the lookout for new (or at least 'new to me') Canadian authors. I found Morrissey's writing to be very engaging and lyrical as she vividly describes Newfoundland and its culture, unique dialect and small coastal town feel.

But it was an interesting premise regarding Kit's living situation and that kept me reading. Kit, Josie and Grandma Lizzie's characters were well thought out and felt very believable. So believable that there were a few times when I got frustrated with what Kit had to deal with on a daily basis with her mom, Josie. It was a lot to bear for a teen and I could feel her frustration as well as her strong devotion to her family.

There are a fair number of secondary characters as we see what life is like in the small coastal village of Haire's Hollow. I only wish the reader got to learn more about these unique characters - some of which, if I'm being honest, were just a tad too clichéd for my tastes. It would have been great if the 'bad guy' had some redeeming quality or have a look into why the resident 'mean girl' is so mean (she reminded me a lot of the spoiled Nelly Oleson from Little House on the Prairie fame, an image I couldn't shake throughout the book).

There was one scene that had me nail biting/on the edge of my seat but unfortunately I saw the major plot twist from a mile away. Even after I figured it out I was hoping for a red herring but that unfortunately never happened. It was still a solid read but I would have loved to have had just one more twist. After the plot twist was revealed the book felt a little jumbled and out of sorts with the ending being the weakest part of the book.

Overall, this was an enjoyable read with a wonderfully eastern Canadian feel to it. The characters and location added a truly unique spin to the book. I look forward to reading more from this author.

My Rating: 3.5/5 stars
*** This book review, as well as many more, can also be found on my blog, The Baking Bookworm (www.thebakingbookworm.blogspot.ca).
312 reviews8 followers
August 24, 2014
Not surprising that Morrissey won the award for best first novel. Although somewhat slow opening, about a quarter of the way in, it picks up, as Morrissey introduces the characters, their flaws and strengths, and the crux of the book, Kit's relationships with Sid and her mother. Especially beautiful are the scenes evoked against the unique, isolated, rugged, always beautiful, sometimes terrifying Newfoundland outpost where Kit resides. The story and Kit will remain with you long after you close the book.
Profile Image for CynthiaA.
720 reviews28 followers
December 2, 2016
This was a wonderful book. It had extremely strong character develop and even better setting in place. I felt like I was actually in Newfoundland. The way the author described places, and people, and the village and the language -- it was so clear to me in my reader's mind.

The characters were also wonderfully drawn, Kit in particular, but really, all of them. I felt like I knew them all personally.

The book had a bittersweet ending. One that was realistic and not simplistic. This book will stay with me awhile. I will be recommending this to friends!
Profile Image for Robyn.
36 reviews3 followers
February 1, 2009
I really love the way that Donna writes just like the characters speak. You can hear the Maritime accents as you read the rich, expressive dialogue. This is definately a Canadian Classic, and I could see High School English classes studying it. It would be one of those books you are forced to read, but fall in love with. I am looking forward to reading more by this author.
426 reviews1 follower
December 8, 2012
Bit of a slow start, not sure if me or the book. Great character development. As an ex-Maritimer, had always enjoyed "Newfie" wit and personality. This took me back in time. Addressed many of the social issues associated w/early Newfoundland, as well as developing a great plot. Human spirit can triumph. Enjoyed thoroughly. A memorable book for me.
20 reviews
October 30, 2007
The words poetic justice would describe this twists and turns in this book rather well. I won't give away the plot, but suffice it to say, those who point the finger often find three fingers back at them. I only wish real life would turn out this way more often.
Profile Image for Shannon.
107 reviews
June 30, 2008
Disturbing. Interesting look at a claustrophobic community, with well thought-out characters. Her imagery is spectacular, but if you don't like realistic descriptions of vomit (who doesn't, really) you should skip the flu scenes...
9 reviews2 followers
February 11, 2008
hated it! Threw it across the room when I finished it!
Profile Image for Pat.
52 reviews
September 13, 2008
excellent, humorous and touching book. absorbing story, left me thinking about the curves life throws. like a boomerang--do they come back to haunt you, or can you move beyond?
Profile Image for Pamela.
335 reviews
November 4, 2017

First ending (before the epilogue)
"'Sometimes I think back on how happy we were, just running up and down the gully—it don't seem real that I ever felt that happy.'
'You'll feel it again, life's like that, patched with moments. Damned if I know why we expect to be happy all the time,' he [Doctor Hodgins] went on, still rocking me. 'Even when we were youngsters with everything being handed to us, we were never happy, always wanting more and bigger. But, there's more than happy, Kit. There's peace. And pride. And those things measure good. You must feel proud, knowing you walked away from what you wanted most in the world, all for a greater thing. There's not lots who've shown your courage, Kittens, and you're hardly more than a girl yet.' He rocked some more, then, kissing the top of my head, held me away from him.
'You've done Lizzy proud,' he whispered, smiling into my eyes. 'Real proud. And it'll be a blessed day when I'm called out to the gully again, in the middle of the night, to bring another Pitman into the world.'
I laid my face upon his shoulder, allowing him to rock me some more. The shaft of sunlight struck through one of the windows, and I managed a bit of a smile as I watched it broaden, catching zillions of dust motes in its ray as it crept up over the aisle and shrouded me in its warmth."

Magickal prose.
"The days wore long, and at night I lay awake as if it were the summer's sun shining through my window, and not the inky light of the moon. ..."

Nice prose, and lovely sentiment.
"'It's a deep pruning you've taken, Kitty,' he hushed, rocking me. 'A deep pruning. But, it's those that are well pruned that bring forward the strongest rose....'"

Fairy tale rhythm. Fairy tale prose.
"'Aye, for sure they thinks we are. Nothin' wrong with livin' with the crows, what do you say, Kit?'
'Nothin' wrong with crows, Aunt Drucie,' I said, rocking and watching, rocking and watching."

Some wisdom here, on occasion.
"'That's a right smart thing to do,' he said, his brow puckering seriously. 'See the world through different colours. It's when everyone starts thinking that theirs is the only colour that things start getting hairy.'"

Lovely prose and loving connection.
"'Heh, me darlin', she said, so low that it might have been the wind whispering, 'I'm not one for pretty words, but it was a blessed evenin' the day that you were born, 'cuz the shack's been warmed ever since—even thought I knows the cold you feels sometimes.'"

Great fairy tale-like prose. It's not sustained, but creeps creeps creeps in every now and then.
"I dozed sleepily. Soon after, Josie thumped off the bed. My eyes sprang open. I listened as Nan got up from her rocker squeak squeak, then walked to the sink for her glass of water creak creak, then hobbled down the hall creak creak creak, her room door opening squeak,\ and shutting. And all was quiet. ..."

It took me a long time to get into this book, and halfway through it, I'm still unsure about it. But this, this is the best BEGINNING, before everything changes, and perhaps this is what made my expectations so high: the peeking in from outside In that beginning, I made assumptions, I wanted something that didn't happen, I craved the connections.
"IF YOU WERE TO PERCH ON A TREETOP and look down on Fox Cove, you would see a gully, about twenty feet across and with a brook gurgling down its spine to the seashore below and flanked on either side by a sea of rippling grass, cresting with Queen Anne's lace, and scented with a brew of burning birch, wet ground and kelp.
To the right of the gully, and about a hundred yards down from a dirt road, is a grey, weather-beaten house, its windows opened to the sea, and its walls slanted back, as if beaten in the hillside by the easterly winds gusting off the Atlantic and whistling up the gully's channel. And if you were to hop onto a windowsill and look inside that house, you would see three women. The eldest sits in a rocker by fire-blistering wood stove, her iron-grey hair hanging down around her fat-padded shoulders, and a pinched look on her wrinkled old face as she sucks on something sharp. Standing behind her, drawing a comb through the grey tresses, is another, her tongue nipped betwixt her teeth as she clumsily attempts to gather the old woman's hair into a bun and fit it into a hairnet that she dangles from one finger. Sprawled across the daybed and watching the two is me, the youngest, with fine yellow hair falling away from my forehead, and a smile, I imagine, rounding the curve of my cheek as I watch.
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