cover image The Sweet Edge

The Sweet Edge

Alison Pick, . . Raincoast, $15.95 (284pp) ISBN 978-1-55192-783-1

Canadian poet Pick's first novel preciously ponders the travails of a young couple as they figure out who they are and if they want (or, indeed, need) each other. Switching perspectives between art gallery gopher Ellen and brooding grad student Adam, Pick zeroes in on the deceptions and mutual disappointments that dog the pair as Ellen, desperate to hold on to Adam, follows him from Kingston, Ontario, to Toronto, even as she suspects he has been unfaithful to her. He has, of course, which makes her cling to him even more; her fear of abandonment trumps pride. Adam, intent on disentangling himself from Ellen, goes on a two-month soul-searching trip to the Canadian wilderness. While he is away, Ellen begins to see herself as an independent entity and finds herself surrounded by a supportive group of new friends. Adam, meanwhile, battles memories and Arctic hardships he isn't sure he will be able to survive. Pick infuses the novel with shining metaphors, which add a welcome luster to an otherwise stale plot. (Aug.)