The Heaviness of Things That Float

The Heaviness of Things That Float

Book - 2016
Average Rating:
Rate this:

Jennifer Manuel skilfully depicts the lonely world of Bernadette, a woman who has spent the last forty years living alone on the periphery of a remote West Coast First Nations reserve, serving as a nurse for the community. This is a place where truth and myth are deeply intertwined and stories are "like organisms all their own, life upon life, the way moss grows around poplar trunks and barnacles atop crab shells, the way golden chanterelles spring from hemlock needles. They spread in the cove with the kelp and the eelgrass, and in the rainforest with the lichen, the cedars, the swordferns. They pelt down inside raindrops, erode thick slabs of driftwood, puddle the old logging road that these days led to nowhere."

Only weeks from retirement, Bernadette finds herself unsettled, with no immediate family of her own--how does she fit into the world? Her fears are complicated by the role she has played within their community: a keeper of secrets in a place "too small for secrets." And then a shocking announcement crackles over the VHF radio of the remote medical outpost: Chase Charlie, the young man that Bernadette loves like a son, is missing. The community is thrown into upheaval, and with the surface broken, raw dysfunction, pain and truths float to the light.

Publisher: Madeira Park, British Columbia : Douglas & McIntyre, 2016
ISBN: 9781771620871
Branch Call Number: MANU
Characteristics: 292 pages ; 23 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
inthestacks Aug 30, 2017

After forty years as a community nurse in a remote First Nation village on the BC coast, Bernadette struggles with her impending retirement and examines the relationships she has had over the years. Though filled with tragedy, it is a well-written and engaging story.

Apr 16, 2017

Yes, it certainly is a beautiful book. I am on about, page 95 so will start there when I can borrow it again. Must return it in the morning.


Add a Quote
Jul 14, 2017

Nan Lily straightened her sweater and clasped her hands on her lap. "What does it matter if you know who she is?"
"It just feels like people should know who she was."
"But what does it matter if YOU know?"
"Maybe I'll understand things better."
"Like what?" Nan Lily asked.
"I don't know. Life."
"Because you think her story is your story."
I stared at Nan Lily.
"It is good that you try to know her," she said. "Because then you might know some of her truths."
I nodded.
"But you cannot know her. Not fully," she said. "And it is dangerous to ever think you can. Because then you will mistake your own truths for hers."

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at FSPL

To Top