One line synopsis: Facing her regrets, a Swedish researcher chronicles a Canadian boy’s obsession with the number 29 and its disastrous consequences.
Synopsis: The 29th Day: A Novel is a literary mystery, told in third person, from the point of view of a woman named Annika Nilsson. The story starts when she comes to Canada for a research project as a graduate student and ends eight years later, shortly after the life she’s been building disintegrates—almost without warning. The core of the story follows the travails of Annika’s host family, Karine Fortuna and her husband John Daven, as they come to terms with their precocious son, Luke’s, strange behaviour. Relying on her well honed analytical and observational skills, and a bent for eccentricity that refuses to straighten out, Annika records the family debates about whether Luke has a mental illness or not and Karine’s increasingly erratic behaviour. Immersed in the moment of each incident, Annika fails to see the global impact of the warning signs in time. Only after the tragic turn of events has run its course does Annika realize that she’d missed the signs and failed to act when her interventions could have changed the course of the future. Despite reading like chick-lit or light summer beach reading, the 29th Day is based on climate change theory and the family drama that reads as the main story line is an allegory for the future of human survival on earth. This is an environmental cautionary tale that is intended to make readers laugh, cry and think about what matters in family life—and in our world today.
The 29th Day is “light entertainment based on deep thoughts” about climate change and homelessness. Terry Fallis, award-winning author of The Best Laid Plans and The High Road, describes The 29th Day as follows:
“Evadne Macedo has written a beautiful novel of our times. Safe in her hands, the story moves seamlessly from humour to melancholy, and back again, yielding profound insights about love, life, and our world. The characters and the world Evadne has created in The 29th Day linger with you long after the story ends. May there be many more stories from this talented new voice.”
About The 29th Day
Annika Nilsson, a Swedish researcher, had no friends, unless you counted people standing beside her at the bus stop (which she normally did). That changed when she met Karen, a university student with a laugh as delightful as hand-picked blueberries tumbling into a bucket. A series of bizarre incidents with Karen’s son halts Annika’s unusual study of Canadian life and plunges Karen’s family into crisis. Scared to trust her instincts, Annika fails to see the significance of key events until it is too late—an outcome that links back to the novel’s central metaphor and name.
The 29th Day: a Novel is a 100,000 word work of literary fiction with a powerful ending and plot hooks throughout. It entertains readers while raising questions about the impact of individual inaction and gaps in the social system/coordinated responses on climate change, addiction and homelessness. The Swedish elements are based on my experiences as an exchange student at Lund University and interactions with my Swedish family, friends and acquaintances in Swedish in the countryside in Skåne.The science elements are drawn from my Biology studies at McMaster University and the social justice elements are based on my work at a student legal clinic at the University of Ottawa and eight years of human rights work.
The 29th Day is a mix between A Prayer for Owen Meany, Keeping Faith andThe Year of the Flood. It blends humour and tragedy and builds to a surprising climax where the environmental significance of key incidents is revealed. Margaret Atwood said, “It sounds like a weirdo environmental book like mine,” when I told her about my book at the Toronto launch of The Year of the Flood.
This novel exists due the stellar mentorship of Terry Fallis (author of The Best Laid Plans and The High Road; and winner of the 2008 Stephen Leacock Award for Humour and Canada Reads 2011 “Essential Book of the Decade”). The 29th Day is not yet published, but I encourage you to check out Terry’s books in the meantime (and in particular, The Best Laid Plans, which will always have a special place in my heart as it inspired me to write The 29th Day). Please visitwww.terryfallis.com.
For more information about The 29th Day, Evadne’s second novel (A Wicked Problem) and Evadne’s other fiction and non-fiction writing for adults and children, please visit her blog http://books.macedo.ca.