From a critically acclaimed and beloved storyteller comes a sweeping novel set aboard 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 twenty years, but deeply attached. When their stern father dies, Thea travels 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 journey to the other side of the world.
At the heart of The Voyage of the Morning Light 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, Marina 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 Voyage of the Morning Light is a breathtaking novel by a writer who has an astonishing ability to bring past worlds vividly to life while revealing the moral complexity of our own.
About the Author
Marina Endicott’s novel Good to a Fault won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best Book, Canada and the Caribbean, and was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. Her next, The Little Shadows, was short-listed for the Governor General’s award and long-listed for the Giller Prize, as was her last book, Close to Hugh. Endicott lives in Alberta most of the time.
Marina Endicott has given us a rich and wonderful read, with ships and whales and a tincture of Greek, centering on an observant young troublemaker of a heroine, who navigates a sea of memorable characters, each of them drawn with Dickensian skill. An adventure story that comes full circle emotionally, The Voyage of the Morning Light will find a place among the beloved seagoing classics.
— Mary Norris, author of Greek to Me
Endicott depicts her characters with great delicacy and sympathy…There is so much in this book to linger over, from Kay and Thea’s relationship with each other to the strength and autonomy of Kay’s mind to Endicott’s lyrical descriptions of the sea and the ship. It’s a novel to return to again and again…A quiet, elegant triumph.
— Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
A beautiful book. It’s 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, author of Gingerbread
An immersive reading experience, the kind that makes one think, and think again...How movingly the novel considers the otherness between people, between the world and us, between human and all other life. Its boldness has a deep humility. Marina Endicott allows her characters to exist without being afraid of their (and our) moral dilemmas and failures, or the gap between our intentions and our understanding. She writes about goodness so well—so beautifully and joyfully. I feel as if I could close my eyes and still be at sea with these characters. A wonderful, brilliant book.
— Madeline Thien, author of Do Not Say We Have Nothing
[The Voyage of the Morning Light] is one of those very, very rare books: It breaks your heart (over and over), is heavy with sorrow and has no neat endings or answers—and yet, it also opens you up to wonder, making you yearn to know more, see more and love more.
— Sarah Laing - Globe and Mail