cover image Trondheim


Cormac James. Bellevue, $17.99 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-1-954276-23-9

James (The Surfacing) delivers an intelligent character-driven story of a lesbian couple whose lives are upended by news of their 20-year-old son’s heart attack. Lil and Alba are working on a home renovation project in France when they receive a call from a hospital in Norway about their eldest son Pierre, who was studying abroad in Trondheim. They drop everything and travel to be by Pierre’s side, where the stress of the situation strains their already fraught marriage. The stoic and emotionally avoidant Lil, who is Irish, and the doting and expressive Alba, who is Catalonian, have grown to resent each other over the years, and in Trondheim they sleep in separate beds and retreat into new bonds with other women. Alba befriends a woman who’s visiting her father in the hospital; Lil connects with a nurse. The tension between the married women is palpable as Pierre’s coma continues over several days, and their strife is exacerbated when Alba discovers Lil has been talking on the phone with a former lover. The end result is a poignant meditation on grief, perseverance, and the complications of love. Agent: Isobel Dixon, Blake Friedmann Literary. (Feb.)