When Ada falls for a body piercer named Pan, her cheeky grandmother, Mattie, says she looks like a caught trout with all those hooks in her mouth. Ada soon discovers Mattie is also caught in a perpetual swoon. It isn’t just Alzheimer’s, or the secret vibrator Ada’s mother, Joan, is convinced Mattie has stashed in her room—Mattie is having a passionate affair with a ghost.
When Joan buys a house in the north end, the three generations move in next door to Ken—who operates one of the big machines engaged in razing some neighbourhoods and building others up—and his family, who aren’t thrilled about their new neighbours. Not only do the newcomers fail to introduce themselves, they and all the other white folks moving north are driving up the rent.
While Ada’s obsession with Pan is written on her body, the story of Mattie’s love for Edith, a young Mi’kmaw survivor of the residential school in Shubenacadie, unfurls too. Next door, Ken grieves his late wife, a powerful Black community organizer, and tries to inspire his directionless young son. Meanwhile, Ken’s daughter, Kiah, works to live up to her mother’s magic.
As relationships and neighbourhoods come apart and are put back together, their residents reach back to understand their connections to Halifax’s history and forward to recognize their responsibilities in its present.
Jaime Burnet writes fiction, plays creepy folk music and sometimes punk and doomy grunge, practices labour and human rights law, and lives with her family by the ocean in Nova Scotia. She has a master’s degree in Women and Gender Studies & Sexual Diversity Studies from the University of Toronto and a law degree from Dalhousie University. Crocuses Hatch From Snow is her first novel.
When stress causes an old trauma to surface, Lucy, a longtime community organizer, teacher and anti-poverty activist, loses control of her life. On probation and living on the streets of Halifax’s North End, all she has left is friends. Faithful friends like Judith, her lawyer, who is helping her take back her life.
Lucy begins to regularly sneak into Judith’s basement to take refuge from the cold, but Lucy’s presence in the house betrays their friendship, and she uncovers mysteries from Judith’s past. As events draw their lives closer, Lucy and Judith are forced to face the toll taken by their secrets. Each of them must choose between confronting past pain or remaining broken.
Anne Bishop has been an activist for four decades in organizations dedicated to local, international, environmental, food, fibre and LGBT justice. Before she reached pension age, her living came from adult education, facilitation, research, writing and editing with a particular love for teaching equity and community leadership. Anne and her partner operate a small farm, raising sheep, chickens, vegetables, berries and tree fruit. She is addicted to spinning and knitting wool.