Every Time We Say Goodbye

Publisher: Vintage Canada
1942: Her mother's death left Grace Turner detached from the world until she became pregnant. Now, she's fallen in love with her baby boy but is locked in combat with her sister-in-law over his care. Wanting an independent life for herself and her son, Grace leaves Sault Ste. Marie to find work, and a place of her own, in southern Ontario. But she worries: when she returns for her baby, will her brother and sister-in-law give him up?

1957: Teenaged Dean Turner breaks open a locked box and finds adoption papers with a birth certificate for Daniel Turner, son of Grace Turner and an unknown father. His parents deny that he is adopted, but four years later, Dean leaves home to find the mysterious Grace.

1961: Laura falls in love with Dean Turner soon after he sits down at her table in the Queen Street Eaton's cafeteria, but he disappears as suddenly and as devastatingly as he appeared. When she encounters him in Sault Ste. Marie three years later, she is determined not to let him slip away again.

1973: Eight-year-old Dawn Turner waits for her father one morning at the front door of her grandparents' house. Dawn and her little brother are finally starting a life with their father, Dean, and his new wife. But when the new beginning doesn't work out, she and Jimmy end up back with their grandparents. As Dawn grows up, she must work to understand her family's mysteries and disappearing acts before she loses track of herself completely. Jamie Zeppa paints a tender and perceptive portrait of the unconventional, though not entirely dysfunctional, Turner family. Rich with mystery, broken promises and in the end, some mending of hearts, Every Time We Say Goodbye explores what it means to leave, to be left, to be absent; what connects parents and children, brothers and sisters, husbands and wives - and what drives them apart.

From the Hardcover edition.


Dawn should have known it was over the night the men showed up with the car. The jig was up, the goose was cooked, it was going to get worse before it got better. It was the beginning of the end, her grandparents would have said, only they would have seen it coming from Day One, if not sooner. This was not unusual: in...
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The themes of leaving and being absent are prominent throughout this novel. What effect does this process of leaving have on those who are doing the leaving? On those they leave behind? How do these absences count as an act of betrayal, and what effect do they have on young children as they mature into adults?...

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A Globe and Mail Best Book

"A captivating family saga - full of deeply felt observations and breathtaking tenderness - Jamie Zeppa's debut is sure to steal your heart."
— Ami McKay, author of The Birth House

"In Every Time We Say Goodbye, Jamie Zeppa does for Sault Ste. Marie what Alice Munro does for Southwestern Ontario. The sense of place is palpable. The suffering characters are reminiscent of the quiet tragedy of Richard B. Wright's Clara Callan. A great read."
— Catherine Gildiner, author of Too Close to the Falls and After the Falls

"A tender, exquisitely written story that aches and laughs and hopes, and never quite leaves you. Jamie Zeppa's Every Time We Say Goodbye is driven by characters so real you nearly become them. A deeply penetrating novel."
— Tish Cohen, author of The Truth About Delilah Blue and Inside Out Girl

"Every once in a while a delicious novel comes along, one that pulls you in and twirls you through its world until you look up and three hours have gone by. Or six. While there are many stories about families, what distinguishes this book is the compassionate wisdom that underpins it, the grace that echoes through it. To read this masterful (and humorous!) novel is to feel what it is to forgive and live bravely: with a tender, laughing, ever-opening heart."
— Alison Wearing, author of Honeymoon in Purdah

From the Hardcover edition.