Natalie Baron, a neglected teenager, is drawn into the life of Barbara, an older woman who invites her along on her family’s religious retreat. She soon discovers that their curious habits and beliefs result from their membership in a Protestant sect: Finnish Envallism. Though some members of the community reject Natalie as an outsider, the mutually fulfilling relationship between the two women leads Barbara to reveal a dangerous secret that sets into motion a devastating series of events. Years later, the adult Natalie, now a respected academic, travels to Finland to research the origins of Envallism and tries to understand the things that happened to her in her youth.
Kathy Page is the author of ten previous books, two of which, Paradise & Elsewhere (2014) and The Two of Us (2016), were nominated for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. Other works include Alphabet, a Governor General’s Award finalist in 2005, and The Story of My Face, long-listed for the Orange Prize in 2002, and Frankie Styne and the Silver Man. Born in the UK, she moved to Salt Spring Island with her family in 2001, and now divides her time between writing and teaching at Vancouver Island University.
Praise for The Story of My Face
“Quietly powerful, with considerable emotional depth: an intriguing account of tortured faith and thwarted desire.” —Kirkus Reviews
“One of the most compelling, unsettling novels I’ve read in ages, which should appeal to fans of classy thrillers and literary fiction alike.” —Sarah Waters
“[Page’s] writing, mostly in the present tense, is lit with an immediate sense of period, summoning images which are by turns softly painterly, sharply filmic or as murky as those first television images of the moon landing.” —Aisling Foster, TLS
“Incredibly evocative and haunting . . . it keeps you reading, wanting to uncover both Natalie’s past and that of Tuomas Envall.” —Clare Heal, Sunday Express
“An elegantly compelling story of how a young girl’s obsession forever changes the lives of those around her.. a disciplined exploration of the complexity of human motivation and our need for redemption.” —Lynne Van Luven , Vancouver Sun
“A most impressive achievement.” —Jessica Mann, Daily Telegraph
“A compelling and unpredictable journey . . . beautifully written, rolls on at a rapid pace and delivers a satisfying punch at the end.” –Christine Pountney, Toronto Star
“A moving, absorbing story . . . Kathy Page writes beautifully.” —Helen Dunmore (author of A Spell of Winter)