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Wednesday
Aug012012

Y

Y

by Majorie Celona

Y. That perfect letter. The wishbone, fork in the road, empty wine glass. The question we ask over and over. Why?

My life begins at the Y.

So begins the story of Shannon, a newborn baby dumped at the doors of the YMCA, swaddled in a dirty grey sweatshirt with nothing but a Swiss Army knife. She is found moments later by a man who catches a mere glimpse of her troubled mother as she disappears from view. All three lives are forever changed by the single decision. 

Bounced between foster homes, Shannon endures neglect and abuse but then finds stability and love in the home of Miranda, a kind single mother who refuses to let anything ever go to waste. But as Shannon grows, so do the questions inside her. Where is she from? Who is her true family? Why would they abandon her on the day she was born?

The answers lie in the heartbreaking tale of Yula, Shannon's mother, a girl herself and one with a desperate fate. Yula spends her days caring for her bitter widowed father and her spirited toddler Eugene until the day she meets Harrison, a man who will protect her but also a man with a dark past and stories yet to be revealed. Soon they are expecting a daughter but as Yula goes into labour, she and Harrison are caught in a tragic series of events that will destroy their family and test their limits of compassion and sacrifice.

Eventually the two stories converge to shape an unforgettable story of family, identity, and inheritance. Written with rare beauty, wisdom, and intimacy, Y is a novel that asks "why?" even as it reveals that the answer isn't always clear and that it may not always matter.


Praise

"A wee baby girl is left behind and even before she opens her eyes, she begins to describe her extraordinary world. Y is filled with heartbreaking loss and flawed heroes yet Celona's writing is filled with grace and compassion."
—Heather O'Neil, author of Lullabies for Little Criminals

"A meditation on loss, identity, and family, Y showcases a tenacious young writer as she schools us in compassion and ultimately cleans house."
—O Magazine

"Stunning."
—The Globe and Mail

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News

"Marjorie Celona's Y is being touted as one of the best debuts of the year, and you can see why." (NOW Magazine)

Giller-nominated novel off to winning start with tale of belonging (Winnipeg Free Press)

The author who couldn't let go of the question Y (Marjorie Celona in the Globe and Mail)