‘Shot-Blue is that rarest species, a genuinely wise novel.’ – Rivka Galchen
Rachel is a young single mother living with her son, Tristan, on a lake that borders the unchannelled north – remote, nearly inhospitable. She does what she has to do to keep them alive. But soon, and unexpectedly, Tristan will have to live alone, his youth unprotected and rough. The wild, open place that is all he knows will be overrun by strangers – strangers inhabiting the lodge that has replaced his home, strangers who make him fight, talk, and even love, when he doesn't want to. Ravenous and unrelenting, Shot-Blue is a book of first love and first loss.
The road was like a portage: an opening that lets you in but makes no promise to bring you out on another side. Maybe the road narrowed to a dead end or was blocked by a swamp raised by a beaver dam. Maybe it led to a place they weren't welcome. She walked through the cut slowly and stopped, her dark hair falling across her shoulders heavily, and Tristan imagined that she meant to let her hair sweep the ground as it did. Most boys would have run out to meet their mothers. But he knew he couldn't understand. She was always telling him,you can't understand everything.
‘This poetically written book is full of riddles, of characters talking past each other and misunderstanding one another in the vein of a Shakespearean love tangle. Loneliness, the very human inability to communicate with one another in a way that reveals our deepest selves, is the point. The novel is a fine corrective to fiction that assumes that people are rational actors and that motive is straightforward or even discernible.’
– Publishers Weekly
‘A moving, lyrical novel. [...] A searing debut.’
– Kirkus Reviews
‘[Ruddock] is talented, with a penchant for paradox and a yen for examining the backward logic that guides our daily anxieties.’
– Quill & Quire
‘Jesse Ruddock understands the weight of things that cannot be said aloud. A sensitive book about lives lived at the edge of society, in the shadow of an idyllic panorama, given voice only in the silence of adolescence.’
– Jenny Erpenbeck, author of The End of Days
‘Stunning and just so gracefully told. Ruddock’s landscape and characters are told by heart and her fierce and beautiful language makes you feel it.’
– Naja Marie Aidt, author of Rock, Paper, Scissors
‘Ruddock exquisitely breathes life into feelings we all know too well.’
– THIS Magazine