A baby is abandoned at the Y. Why? Why do people choose the forks in the path that they do? People are so often incapable of recognising choices. They lack a perceptual awareness of their own abilities to influence their own course through their life. The novel follows the story of the abandoned baby and her childhood, and intersperses it with the story of her biological parents. The paths of the characters are littered with misery and bad choices. The bleakness is alleviated only a little by the naive hopes of the child.
The characters were sketched in bold strong strokes, but didn't feel filled in. The use of the city as a character itself helped compensate for this. The rich imageries of the various neighbourhoods of Victoria were replete with details that provided strong contexts for the story lines. I enjoyed this the most. As she walked her characters along Dallas Rd at the ocean front, past the World's Tallest Totem, and over to Ogden Point where the cruise ships berth, I saw it readily in my mind. The down and outs of Pandora Ave and other marginal areas dominated the book. The rural areas out west, beside a provincial park, also played true to form, harboring an eclectic mix of reclusive people who seek refuge in the environment of towering trees "forming a nave", like a church, or an Emily Carr painting, as noted by one of the characters.