The Difference

Narrated by: Barbara Barnes
Length: 14 hrs and 49 mins
5 out of 5 stars (1 rating)

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Publisher's Summary

2020 City of Edmonton Book Prize

2020 Dartmouth Book Award for Fiction

2020 Georges Bugnet Award for Novel

From one of our most critically acclaimed and beloved storytellers comes a sweeping novel set on board the Morning Light, a Nova Scotian merchant ship sailing through the south pacific in 1912.

Kay and Thea are half-sisters, separated in age by almost 20 years, but deeply attached. When their stern father dies, Thea returns to Nova Scotia for her long-promised marriage to the captain of the Morning Light. But she cannot abandon her orphaned young sister, so Kay too embarks on a life-changing voyage to the other side of the world.

At the heart of The Difference is a crystallizing moment in Micronesia: Thea, still mourning a miscarriage, forms a bond with a young boy from a remote island and takes him on board as her own son. Over time, the repercussions of this act force Kay, who considers the boy her brother, to examine her own assumptions - which are increasingly at odds with those of society around her - about what is forgivable and what is right.

Inspired by a true story, Endicott shows us a now-vanished world in all its wonder, and in its darkness, prejudice, and difficulty, too. She also brilliantly illuminates our present time through Kay's examination of the idea of "difference" - between people, classes, continents, cultures, customs, and species.

The Difference is a breathtaking novel by a writer with an astonishing ability to bring past worlds vividly to life while revealing the moral complexity of our own. 

©2019 Marina Endicott (P)2019 Knopf Canada

Critic Reviews

"A beautiful book, so lovely in its graveness, and in its comedy.... The cut of the prose is so keen and the happenings are so finely wrought that it contorts where it can't help but contort, around the places where unanswerable grief comes into our lives." (Helen Oyeyemi)

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