Cover by Office of Paul SahreCoach House Books, 2017
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A quiet and spreading sadness in these pages is conveyed in its softest details...Ruddock writes moments of startling intimacy.
A tough, hardscrabble book...Ruddock has a horrible knack for immediacy.
There is something ancient, primal and almost biblical about the story Shot-Blue tells...An intensely imaginative and lucid study of human feeling in all its depth and range.
All big dreams and knitted brows, Shot-Blue is a serious and demanding book, contemplating widely in wandering prose. Ruddock is a poet (among other things) and we can call this her debut novel or we can call it what it is: poetry. She taps skills honed across medium – Ruddock a songwriter and photographer besides – to paint vividly a savage, inhospitable northern winter and the human collateral it claims.
Shot-Blue is that rarest species, a genuinely wise novel. Its characters are at once too lonely, and insufficiently alone; their landscape feels both tender and indifferent, god-haunted and abandoned. This is a truly exceptional and compelling work, and in that way, its own variety of joy.
Jesse Ruddock understands the weight of things that cannot be said aloud. A sensitive book about lives lived at the edge of society, in the shadow of an idyllic panorama, given voice only in the silence of adolescence.
This poetically written book is full of riddles, of characters talking past each other and misunderstanding one another in the vein of a Shakespearean love tangle. Loneliness, the very human inability to communicate with one another in a way that reveals our deepest selves, is the point. The novel is a fine corrective to fiction that assumes that people are rational actors and that motive is straightforward or even discernible.
A searing debut...In haunting prose, the author has created a moving and tense look at what becomes of children when they aren’t or can’t be cared for and must fend for themselves. It explores the depths of human emotion and the limits we struggle to overcome. A moving, lyrical novel that explores the emotional pain of hardship on children.
A stirring and solemn lyrical debut...Ruddock ends her book as poetically as she began it, foregoing straightforward answers for something bordering on intuition, leaving the reader to float face up in the sea of vibrant language, bobbing in her shifting, ambiguous, and graceful waves.
Stunning and just so gracefully told. Ruddock’s landscape and characters are told by heart and her fierce and beautiful language makes you feel it.
The author is talented, with a penchant for paradox and a yen for examining the backward logic that guides our daily anxieties.
Ruddock exquisitely breathes life into feelings we all know too well. Feelings that are felt so powerfully, even when conveyed through very few words.
An electric debut novel from a young Canadian writer. Reading Jesse Ruddock’s prose sentence to sentence is like rowing at high speed, each stroke forward is a blunt, visceral experience.
Jesse Ruddock’s powerful debut, Shot-Blue, is at once charged with lyrical energy and grounded in a complex, human understanding of trauma, desire and loss.
Ruddock’s ability to craft a complicated story into a haunting and vivid set of ideas of otherness and connection is clear.