Day of the Dog-tooth Violets
Young Adult/Adult Fiction
Spanning two continents, one war and several generations,
Day of the Dog-tooth Violets follows the stories of three unforgettable characters as their lives become forever linked
and grounded in Muskoka. First there is Nan, a grown woman
and mother of two young boys who suddenly discovers her
family secret: that her deceased mother was half Chippewa.
Then there is Gunner, a First Nations classmate from Nan’s
small rural community and the only reference point Nan has to
her new identity. Finally, there is Hamar, Gunner’s father, a displaced Norwegian who escaped his homeland during the German occupation and found himself at the end of the war, still tied to the Norwegian airforce training camp in Muskoka.
Weaving together different decades and narrative points of view, Day of the Dog-tooth Violets is about the universal search for identity and belonging. Suitable for both adults and young adults, this story examines the meaning of blood and ancestry and the inevitable conclusion that what really matters is not about race or religion, but about finding a place and purpose in the world.
Praise for Day of the Dog-tooth Violets
This is one of the most delightful rites-of-passage novels I have ever read.
New Hope International Review (UK)
Kilbourne’s deceptively simple prose employs shifts of memory and point of view, place and time, to build a narrative structure that supports a gentle, sweetly moving climax. [The] story weaves disparate voices into a convincing and increasingly seductive narrative whole.
The Globe and Mail
Kilbourne is a talented writer, with a facility for language and an intriguing story...
Quill & Quire
[Kilbourne] is a promising writer who gives her characters a respectful fragility. It is hard not to admire the way she sensitizes the reader to childhood's intuitive responses to the world, and to the way adults unwittingly foreclose their own happiness. Chapters are short, lucid, and lovingly polished, and it is a pleasure to keep stacking them up towards the climax of a satisfying conclusion.
University of Toronto Quarterly
A beautiful coming-of-age novel, rich with theme and prose. Kilbourne’s prose is a joy to read.
The Hamilton Spectator
Day of the Dog-tooth Violets is a sensitive, restrained, yet subtly ambitious novel about the healing nature of memory and the persistence of blood and heritage. A fine debut!
Alan Cumyn, author of Giller Prize Nominee, Burridge Unbound
A strong novel, polished, well-paced, expertly structured. And even better, the characters are alive and their interactions nicely done, completely believable.
Nancy Bauer, author of Samara the Wholehearted
One can see echoes of Margaret Laurence in the plot and in the fine delineation of life in a small town. Day of the Dog-tooth Violets deals with identity, and promotes an awareness of class, race and social spheres in Canadian society.
Uma Parameswaran, author or What Was Always Hers
Christina Kilbourne has written a powerful first novel that will delight you with its lyrical style and narrative skill. Effortlessly weaving together different voices and different times, Day of the Dog-tooth Violets tells the stories of Nan and Gunner and in doing so illuminates how the past informs the present in so many ways. A real winner.
Peter Robinson, author of the Inspector Banks series