Very Marrow of Our Bones by Christine Higdon, ECW Press

The Very Marrow of Our Bones: A Novel

Higdon, Christine

  • Defiance, faith, and triumph in a heartrending novel about daughters and mothers

    On a miserable November day in 1967, two women disappear from a working-class town on the Fraser River. The community is thrown into panic, with talk of drifters and murderous husbands. But no one can find a trace of Bette Parsons or Alice McFee. Even the egg seller, Doris Tenpenny, a woman to whom everyone tells their secrets, hears nothing.

    Ten-year-old Lulu Parsons discovers something, though: a milk-stained note her mother, Bette, left for her father on the kitchen table. Wally, it says, I will not live in a tarpaper shack for the rest of my life . . .

    Lulu tells no one, and months later she buries the note in the woods. At the age of ten, she starts running — and forgetting — lurching through her unraveled life, using the safety of solitude and detachment until, at fifty, she learns that she is not the only one who carries a secret.

    Hopeful, lyrical, comedic, and intriguingly and lovingly told, The Very Marrow of Our Bones explores the isolated landscapes and thorny attachments bred by childhood loss and buried secrets.


    Christine Higdon is a writer, editor, and graphic designer. She was shortlisted for the 2011 Marina Nemat Award and for the 2016 CBC Creative Nonfiction Prize. Daughter of a Newfoundlander and a British Columbian, Christine lives in Mimico, Ontario, where she hooks rugs, worries about the bees, and longs for either ocean. This is her first novel.


  • Published: April 2018

    ISBN: 9781770414167

    Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.5 in.

    Pages: 440

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“Atmospheric and thoughtful, this book is a character study on childhood, attachments, secrets, loss, love, pain, grief and family.” – Open Book Post blog

“I enjoyed it, I was worried, uncomfortable, angry at behaviours while also empathizing.” – Book Stalker blog