Summer Gone

Publisher: Vintage Canada
The admired, bestselling author of The Danger Tree joins Knopf Canada with his masterful first work of fiction: a haunting novel about love experienced and love remembered that is also an unforgettable celebration and evocation of the brief beauty of a northern summer.

Summer Gone is about that moment when everything stops. Like skilled canoeists, we briefly hold a perfect balance - poised between innocence and experience, life and death, discovery and loss, the promise of spring and the sadness of autumn - and we believe, foolishly, that those perfect days will last forever.

Set among the islands and lakes of "cottage country", this major first novel from one of Canada's premier writers explores the stories of three generations of lost summers. But Summer Gone is primarily the story of a divorced father and a young son separated by the silence of estrangement, and how during one extraordinary night on an ill-fated canoe trip the silence is broken. Yet, as the novel unfolds, tragedy looms over father and son in ways they could never have imagined, and leads to the book's gripping and startling conclusion.

Summer Gone is an exquisite novel, beautifully written and powerfully told.


When Dr. Alistair Laird fell suddenly ill early one spring, not long after his seventy-first birthday, his wishes were that no ceremony attend his death. He was a handsome, crag-faced man. He was known as Laird to everyone, including his wife, Nora, and his three stepdaughters, Julia, Pru, and Sarah. He was kindly,...
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"Summer Gone is a homage to our most excruciating and beautiful memories. Within this novel is the marvellous height of summer, perfect and fleeting, a place and time we can never get enough of." --The Globe and Mail

"Summer Gone is a novel about telling stories — one that merges fiction and truth, past and present, memory and action, into one dangerous and beautiful current." --The Calgary Herald

"David Macfarlane rises to the challenge of a first novel…[he] gets degree of difficulty points…[and] it works. Mr. Macfarlane writes beautifully and gets his story across powerfully…a rewarding reading experience." --The Ottawa Citizen

"Summer Gone is a summer vacation in the north woods, with all that implies to you the reader." --Winnipeg Free Press

"As with most good fiction, the real joy of Macfarlane’s book is in the quietly choreographed moments where the author’s insights into people mesh with his undeniable skill with language." --Eye

"…Summer Gone is a polished, well-crafted novel that dwells on fresh, powerful themes." --The Annex Gleaner

"…Summer Gone is a triumph of voice, storytelling and slippery connections." --The Vancouver Sun, Aug. 28/99

Praise for The Danger Tree:
"I've just discovered The Danger Tree and am stunned. It is so good. About the best prose to ever come out of this country, for my money." — Alice Munro

"[David Macfarlane’s] Newfoundland memoir, The Danger Tree, is easily one of the most readable and beautifully written books to emerge from Canada in recent years." --Mordecai Richler, Saturday Night

"The Danger Tree is a masterpiece. David Macfarlane is an architect of the past, building extraordinary memory mansions in which the reader feels eerily at home." --Alberto Manguel