“Here’s the opening paragraph of Margaret Macpherson’s new novel, Body Trade:
“The body is gone. People are milling around the church basement, visiting, relieved and happy that Lloyd can go directly into the ground. No hanging with the other stiffs in the ice house, waiting for the permafrost thaw. Nope, none of that for Lloyd. He’s somehow managed a summer accident. Cleaner. Faster. Probably the only clean thing Lloyd ever did.”
Now that is a great opening for a novel. It’s swift, it’s clean and it establishes a strong narrative voice, that being Tanya, the 20-something tough girl who many at the funeral suspect had something to do with Lloyd’s death. Yes, she was having a fairly clumsy affair with Lloyd and, yes, she was working the bar the night he headed off drunk in his truck, but, no, she didn’t kill him.
That doesn’t stop Tanya from deciding that maybe a little time away from Yellowknife and the Northwest Territories might just do her and Lloyd’s grieving widow a world of good.
Meanwhile, we meet Rosie, an Inuit girl, barely more than a teenager, living unhappily in residential school. Her parents are dead, her brother’s in jail and she’s been apprehended by social services.
Rosie and Tanya meet with the usual young person awkwardness and discover a common discomfort with their surroundings and a desire to get out.
That’s all it takes, and the two gather up their work money, roll out Tanya’s Rambler and head south, destination Mexico just because they’ve heard of it and it’s warm.”