A Canadian novelist’s potent story of small town life and a middle-aged woman and restless 17-year-old boy whose lives are changed after a chance and tragic meeting in an ice-cream parlour.

Joan Barfoot already had eight novels and a career as a reporter and editor for various Canadian newspapers to her name when she wrote Critical Injuries, a reflective tale of parallel lives intersecting. The act that brings Isla and Roddy together is senselessly violent but Barfoot was longlisted for the delicacy and subtlety of her meditation on changed lives and above all for the way she balances the readers’ sympathy between the two characters when one of them seems so much less deserving of it than the other.

Joan Barfoot

All nominated books

Critical Injuries