A stunning first novel full of empathy, marked by an astounding maturity of insight. Cumberland is both a place and a state of mind; it is a small-town story of longing and loss in the manner of David Adams Richards. It is an exploration of loneliness and the fear of loneliness in lives limited by circumstance. Cumberland is an industrial town located halfway between Ottawa and Montreal on the shore of the St. Lawrence River. It's facing the close of its factories and mills in the wake of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
In the lonely years following the death of her fiancé, Helen is unable to move on with her life. But life itself is moving on around her literally: The building of a dam is forcing her small town and her family home to relocate. But the construction project means more than the loss of a home. Helens brother, Robbie, who disappeared without a trace 15 years earlier, suddenly resurfaces. As he re-enters his sisters life, he reveals the secret of why he left in the first place: a secret that tore their family apart, and affected Helens life in more ways than she ever realized.