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The Difference

Written by: Marina Endicott
Narrated by: Barbara Barnes
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Publisher's Summary

From one of our most critically acclaimed and beloved storytellers comes a sweeping novel set on board the Morning Light, a Nova Scotian merchant ship sailing through the south pacific in 1912.

Kay and Thea are half-sisters, separated in age by almost twenty years, but deeply attached. When their stern father dies, Thea returns to Nova Scotia for her long-promised marriage to the captain of the Morning Light. But she cannot abandon her orphaned young sister, so Kay too embarks on a life-changing voyage to the other side of the world.

At the heart of The Difference is a crystallizing moment in Micronesia: Thea, still mourning a miscarriage, forms a bond with a young boy from a remote island and takes him on board as her own son. Over time, the repercussions of this act force Kay, who considers the boy her brother, to examine her own assumptions--which are increasingly at odds with those of society around her--about what is forgivable and what is right.

Inspired by a true story, Endicott shows us a now-vanished world in all its wonder, and in its darkness, prejudice and difficulty, too. She also brilliantly illuminates our present time through Kay's examination of the idea of "difference"--between people, classes, continents, cultures, customs and species. The Difference is a breathtaking novel by a writer with an astonishing ability to bring past worlds vividly to life while revealing the moral complexity of our own.

©2019 Marina Endicott (P)2019 Knopf Canada

What the critics say

2020, City of Edmonton Book Prize, Winner

2020, Dartmouth Book Award for Fiction, Winner

2020, Georges Bugnet Award for Novel, Short-listed

“The Difference is such an immersive reading experience, the kind that makes one think, and think again . . . . I loved being at sea with Kay and Thea, and found it hard to part from them. How movingly the novel considers the otherness between people, between the world and us, between human and all other life. . . . Its boldness has a deep humility. Marina Endicott allows her characters to exist without being afraid of their (and our) moral dilemmas and failures, or the gap between our intentions and our understanding. She also writes about goodness so well—so beautifully and joyfully. . . . I feel as if I could close my eyes and still be at sea with these characters. A wonderful, brilliant book." (Madeleine Thien, Giller Prize–winning author of Do Not Say We Have Nothing)

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Beautifully written but will need to read it

Such gorgeous writing I will be looking for all Marina Endicott’s previous books. Unfortunately I will avoid this reader—she was tolerable when she didn’t try to do accents—nails on a chalkboard!! Such a shame for such a great book. I will need to read it to get its full benefit.

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