Freehand Books is pleased to be bringing back to print the widely acclaimed first novel by the author of the Giller-shortlisted Good to a Fault, Marina Endicott. Open Arms is a contemporary quest story set in Saskatoon and featuring a protagonist whose spirit is as strong as her heart is broken. Seventeen-year-old Bessie Smith Connolly, the daughter of a rock-singer mother and absentee poet father, must navigate grief and betrayal, making her way through her exploded family and out into the world. Open Arms was a finalist for the 2002 Amazon-Books in Canada First Novel Award and broadcast on CBC Radio’s Between the Covers.
“Open Arms is an impressive debut. It tackles a subject as old as life itself and gives it a newness and an honesty. Marina Endicott is a writer to watch.” — The Hamilton Spectator
“Endicott’s writing is clear as fast-running water and hard as gemstones. She writes with wisdom, grace and conviction. Open Arms demonstrates a lucid, hard-won faith in the ability of people to find love and hold on tight. It’s hard to imagine wishing for anything more.” — The Vancouver Sun
“Open Arms, by Marina Endicott, meets one of my major criteria for successful novels: three weeks after reading it I can still recall characters, scenes, and events … Endicott is an excellent storyteller and this is a substantial, sweet-natured novel, full of hope and promise.” — W.P. Kinsella, Books in Canada
“[Endicott’s] novel offers lucid, unembellished prose that hides convolutions of deeper meaning. Six girls and women are the linked heroines of this deceptively episodic tale—deceptive because events scattered over thousands of miles and several decades are finally fused into a striking emotional whole, a continuum of fractured, rarely spoken, but persistent and mysterious love.” — The Globe and Mail
“Open Arms is the story of a young woman’s quest. Her search is for a mother, her hope is for a final, hard-won comprehension, a reprieve from the ache of being human. But, as in the finest of quest stories, comprehension does not come at some big, dramatic end, it comes all along the complicated way. Marina Endicott’s vision is evidence that the journey itself, although lonely and uncharted, can be filled with both clues and consolation.” — Bonnie Burnard