Knopf Canada is pleased to welcome internationally acclaimed writer Joan Barfoot to the fiction list with a novel her devoted fans will immediately recognize as vintage Barfoot: witty and ironic, dark and clever — and always, always entertainin Knopf Canada is pleased to welcome internationally acclaimed writer Joan Barfoot to the fiction list with a novel her devoted fans will immediately recognize as vintage Barfoot: witty and ironic, dark and clever — and always, always entertaining.
Nora, an artist, wakes up one morning to discover that her husband, lying beside her, has died in the night. Naturally, she screams. Beth, Nora’s ethereal artist’s model, and Sophie, the housekeeper, who also live in the big house on the hill, come rushing.
Such startling, terrible things do happen, and Philip’s silent demise is bound to have dramatic effects. The abruptly widowed Nora, whose recent works of biblical art have caused a fundamentalist furor in the town where they live, is unexpectedly confronted by solo life in a place she despises. Beth faces losing a haven from her own shocking history, while Sophie, a former overseas aid volunteer traumatized by the experience, has her own secret griefs to contend with.
Luck follows the days immediately after Philip’s death as the women career through circumstances none of them could have expected, under the big hovering question: Now what?
There is good luck, and there is bad luck, and then there’s the ambiguous sort of luck that’s a lot of this and some of the other. For instance:
When Philip Lawrence, already recipient of a reasonably gratifying life, has the misfortune to die, he is just forty-six, which in some other part of the world or some other century would be a grand old age, but is terribly young in this place and time. On the other hand it is his good luck to die quietly in his bed, apparently in his sleep, a remarkably mild and merciful, even enviable, ending. So when Philip Lawrence drifts in the embrace of good luck and bad out of life in the course of an August night, while the air conditioning wafts its comfort indoors, while outside, grass shrivels, flowers wilt, trees droop, animals pant for moisture and air, when the moon is bright but the curtains are drawn and the big old house is mainly silent except for the sounds big old houses make to themselves in the night, there is no particular need to feel sorry for him. Surely if he has suffered at all, it can have been only briefly.
A different matter entirely for the living. —from Luck