The Cure for Death by Lightning by Gail Anderson-Dargatz

Told through the eyes of 15-year-old Beth, living in rural Canada, this novel is an intense sensory experience set during World War Two. She befriends the local Indian kids and the rich spiritual and natural world they share enables her to survive the sexual abuse and increasing violence her PTSD suffering father imposes on her. Supernatural enchantment abounds and the line between reality and imagination is blurred as the Indian legend of coyote haunts her. She survives the cruel environment, finding friendship with other outsiders. Filthy Billy has Tourette’s Syndrome and works on her father’s farm and is key to the supernatural suspense. Her other friend, Nora is an alluring Indian girl who provides sanctuary as Beth’s world spins out of control. Their grandmother, Bertha Moses, has a masculine voice and two little fingers. Bertha weaves together the stories Beth reads in her mother’s scrapbook and her experiences of the supernatural. This is an all-time favourite and a very rare, raw, and beautiful work that evokes a longing for the harsh beauty of the country.

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