cover image By the Next Pause

By the Next Pause

G. Barton-Sinkia. G. Barton-Sinkia, $24.99 trade paper (884p) ISBN 978-1-77521-022-1

Barton-Sinkia’s saga of interconnected lives in Canada will keep a relentless hold on readers’ attention. In the 1980s, eight-year-old Simone Allen moves from Jamaica to Toronto, where she will live with the mother she barely knew. Pam Allen had left Simone with a Jamaican aunt to work in Toronto, but after the aunt’s death, the mother and child are forced together. While Pam struggles with excruciating memories of Jamaica and harsh bouts of depression, Simone fights her mother’s ire while finding her footing in the new culture. Her neighbor and schoolmate Nolan O’Shea doesn’t mind that his new friend is black, and she doesn’t care that he’s white Irish Catholic, and they are drawn closer together when their single parents use the same after-school sitter in their apartment complex. Over the story’s decades-long scope, Simone finds first love with a woman, while Nolan enters a toxic phase of “discovering himself and his culture” by joining a small but violent hate group. Part of the novel’s appeal comes from seeing the characters grow, such as how Simone’s hard work finally results in landing her dream job, while Nolan overcomes his checkered past and becomes the star of a popular reality series. This candid story depicts a bond that stays strong through childhood and into adulthood, even as Simone and Nolan are geographically distant. Barton-Sinkia’s moving family epic will captivate readers. [em](BookLife) [/em]