Adult Fiction

Glass Voices

Carol Bruneau

ISBN: 9781897151129
Format: Trade Paperback
5.59" x 8.51"

Publication Date: Sep 30, 2007

FIC019000 FICTION / Literary
FIC014000 FICTION / Historical
FIC045000 FICTION / Family Life

Commended, 2007 Globe and Mail Best Book of the Year

“Bruneau is a gifted storyteller, and the sense of place and time is remarkable … This novel is so rich in detail and emotion that a first reading merely opens the reader to an appreciation of its gifts. Its density submerges the reader in a complete world of character, plot and setting … Bruneau manages to show both the roughness and tenderness of life, and infuse this novel with a palpable reality … Glass Voices illustrates the immense strength some people have to cope with tragedy – and that is truly inspiring.”
The Globe and Mail

“Carol Bruneau’s remarkably intricate, textured and complex novel Glass Voices, published 90 years after the blast, is a heroic response to the [Halifax Explosion]… Her story of one family’s life in the aftermath of the explosion is a deeply compassionate rendition of how cataclysmic rupture continues to reverberate and repeat itself in survivors and their descendents through their lives … A saline stoicism runs like a current through Glass Voices, seeming to say that suffering and hope wash over us in alternating waves, and how valiantly we struggle to stay afloat is what measures the content of our character.”
Literary Review of Canada

“[Observing and remembering] is evident in her strong stories and the vividness with which she creates worlds for her characters. It is as if entire tableaus have been remembered and accessed to allow Bruneau to paint with words … In Glass Voices, Bruneau achieves the seemingly impossible. Her depiction of Halifax during and immediately after the explosion is as vivid as if she were an eyewitness recording the sights and sounds … A reader just discovering Bruneau’s work might also feel like a kid in a candy store … The body of work Bruneau has created over several decades has been compared to the writings of Margaret Laurence, Carol Shields and Alice Munro.”
The Chronicle Herald

“Demonstrates how profoundly love shapes lives, no matter what else happens … textured and rich.”
Quill and Quire

“Carol’s writing is beautiful, and she has an amazing gift as a storyteller.”
Atlantic Books Today

“Displays the barely restrained virtuosity of a talented writer … Bruneau, on a whole, is a pleasure to read.”
Canadian Literature

“Deftly marrying history with fictional lives in a complex tale spanning more than 50 years, the narrative is rich in era-appropriate detail, threading smoothly … back and forth through those five decades. It is a measure of Bruneau’s artistry that the read is so seldom distracted by the ever-changing alignment of current and retrospective settings … Glass Voices is perhaps Bruneau’s most challenging work.”
The Coast

“It would be possible to write a novel about the Halifax Explosion that focuses on the disaster and despair of the moment, or one that offers a sentimental version of recovery. Bruneau has accomplished the much more difficult task of showing just how hard life is in the years after the Explosion, while also demonstrating how it may be possible to find hope even when every aspect of life seems to disappoint.”
The Diocesan Times

“Award-winning author Carol Bruneau brings the characters to life with empathy, insight and humour.”
The Guelph Mercury

“Bruneau has done well to relay the necessity of moving on amidst the challenges of contemporary life.”
The Daily News


Seventy-one-year-old Lucy Caines’ husband suffers a severe stroke that makes Lucy reexamine her complicated relationship with the man she has variously loved and loathed. Lucy and Harry Caines’ house is destroyed in the 1917 Halifax Explosion, a catastrophe in which they lose their first child, Helena. With their second child, a boy named Jewel, the young couple carves out a life for themselves amid a survivor’s village of ramshackle houses, gambling, moonshine, and illegal fishing.

Fifty-two years later, Lucy’s son Jewel is married to the daughter of Lucy’s worst enemy, and her grandson Robert wants to quit school to go on a hippie pilgrimage. Forced to work together during Harry’s long recovery, the family gains a new perspective on the past, as a mysterious stranger is more than she seems, and a fresh loss is countered with the emergence of a new hope.Glass Voices explores the interior life of a woman who has always worked hard for her family and taken little for herself. At the thought of losing her husband, Lucy confronts her dependence on a man whose self-destructiveness has frequently isolated her.

Award-winning author Carol Bruneau’s moving portrait of a mother and her family traverses personal tragedy, two World Wars, and the social tumult of the 60s, tackling the necessity of moving on, and celebrating the possibility of finding salvation in the unlikeliest places.