A Novel

By Janet Romain

Categories: Fiction
Imprint: Caitlin Press
Paperback : 9781894759564, February 2011


Anzel, a widow in her sixties, lives quietly on her small farm with her grandfather, a Carrier elder from Northern BC. Grandpère and Anzel pass the time playing fierce cribbage games, cutting firewood and tending the vegetable garden. As the days pass Grandpère tells his life story, sharing heart-breaking memories: the death of his family in a devastating epidemic, his son's murder at the hands of a horse thief, and his battle and eventual triumph over alcohol. When their extended family visits on holidays and weekends, Grandpère, with the tenderness of an elder, tells the children of the Carrier traditions and values. Their days together are happy and simple, and when Anzel meets Jim, a caretaker at the local pensioner's home, life seems complete again. But one day a taxi arrives from town. Its passenger is Angel, a frightened thirteen-year-old stranger who claims to be Anzel's granddaughter. Her father, she says, was Anzel's youngest son Ben, who was killed in a car crash 14 years prior. Angel's mother, alone and pregnant with Ben's child, ran away to the city to raise the child far from the disapproving eyes of her family. But after years of poverty and loneliness, she succumbed to the streets of Vancouver. Angel, neglected and abused at the hands of her mother's new boyfriend, follows the trail to her father's family. When Anzel takes in this unknown granddaughter, she and her family must act quickly to protect her. Romain's first novel, Grandpère is a tender story of determination, loss, and family love.


"Grandpère is a marvel to read and woven with such beauty and tenderness. Romain’s writing is a tribute to the power of family, love’s blessings and time’s healing ways. I never wanted it to end ... An instant classic."

—Richard Van Camp, author of The Lesser Blessed and The Moon of Letting Go