Origin of Haloes

Publisher: Emblem Editions
When sixteen-year-old gymnast Kay Clancy finds herself pregnant by the handsome Coach Halliwell, she tells a lie that has dire consequences. Despite her transgressions, she manages to marry the young Joe LeBlanc, and embarks on a happy life with him until suddenly, late in Kay’s third pregnancy, he vanishes, along with his treasured canoe. Joe is nowhere to be found, but his paddle surfaces near a dock in front of the Halliwell home, where the coach lives with his manic but fragile wife, Marie, and their son, Eddie. Years on, Margar, the mischievous daughter Joe never knew, is determined to find her father. Time and again she is drawn to that house by the river. What Margar discovers there will change forever the way she views her family.

From the acclaimed author of Water Wings and The Perpetual Ending, Origin of Haloes is a novel of lives large and small, interweaving captivating vignettes from Olympic history and Greek mythology with small-town Ontario to tell a story of love, betrayal, and loss.

From the Hardcover edition.


Here is a time-lapsed chronology, a little row of consequence, of fallen dominoes:

Kay Clancy, an aspiring teenaged gymnast of uncommon talent, was being coached by a near-Olympian when she met Joséph Patrice Emmanuel François Gabriel LeBlanc, or Joe, in 1960. Both came from families that had dwelled in...
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1. When she becomes pregnant with Estelle, the teenaged Kay tells everyone that Joe Leblanc is the father, while lying to Joe about the real father’s identity. Why does Kay take this approach, and how responsible is she for the misunderstandings and problems that ensue?

2. Throughout Origin of Haloes...

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“Kristen den Hartog’s Origin of Haloes is a haunting, heart-rending masterpiece penned in incandescent ink. With patient, scathing radiance, the novel reveals the unexpected but searing consequences of a lie told with desperate hope. In this story set in an Ottawa Valley town in the 1960s-80s of prime ministers Diefenbaker, Pearson, and Trudeau, amid the quadrennial occurrence of the Olympics, we learn that saints must suffer, that godly tragedy is familial, and that, because true love is unbearable, our only solace is grief.”
–George Elliott Clarke

From the Hardcover edition.