The Umbrella Mender

Read an excerpt.

Advance praise

In her haunting debut novel, The Umbrella Mender, Christine Fischer Guy transports us to 1950s Moose Factory, where the beleaguered staff of the local hospital are fighting to stem the tide of tuberculosis among the indigenous peoples of the North. At the heart of the novel is Hazel MacPherson, a promising young nurse who finds herself increasingly drawn to the surrounding wilderness, made manifest in the person of a troubled drifter.
Like her heroine, Fischer Guy is equally at home within the walls of the hospital and without. In language rich with sensual detail, she brings Hazel’s dualized experience into sharp focus, evoking the ghostly beauty of an X-ray one moment, the living presence of the Moose River the next. The Umbrella Mender is a gorgeous book— a moving meditation on human frailty, a sensitive portrait of conflicting cultures brought together in an uneasy truce, and a heartbreaking tale of unsanctioned love.
Alissa York, author of Fauna and Effigy

The evocative setting of a TB hospital in remote Moose Factory, a passionate and clandestine love affair, and the irresistible voice of intrepid nurse Hazel join forces to make The Umbrella Mender an absolutely compelling read from start to finish.
Miriam Toews, author of The Flying Troutmans and A Complicated Kindness

The Umbrella Mender is a gem of hope, denial and blind faith. Nurse Hazel MacPherson’s travels, both physical and spiritual, haul you toward true North, and do their very best to leave you knowing every inch of the trip as if it were worn under your skin and marked deep in your lungs, the shadowed scar visible only by X-ray. Wonderfully, carefully written, this is a book you will not soon forget.
Russell Wangersky, author of Whirl Away and Burning Down the House


“The arc of the narrative is a tragic one, and the turn of events shocking and distressing… Guy, fortunately, keeps the reader interested partly because she avoids setting up stereotypical opposites… a real, though muted, sense of prolonged suspense.” Philip Marchand reviews The Umbrella Mender in the National Post, November 25, 2014.

Fischer Guy writes supple sentences that rarely call attention to themselves. They are as fluid and forceful as the river, uncommonly beautiful…Fischer Guy has given readers a story that is Canadian yet universal; of its time and timeless.” Laura Rock reviews The Umbrella Mender in the Ottawa Review of Books, December 31, 2014.

“A terrifically entertaining read from first page to last, The Umbrella Mender documents novelist Christine Fischer Guy as a major storytelling talent of the first order. Deftly crafted characters and a complex but gripping plot highlight The Umbrella Mender, making it very highly recommended for both personal reading lists and community library General Fiction collections.” Midwest Book Review, March 2015.

“Fischer Guy’s writing is strong, well paced, and evocative. The northern setting is rendered more through the characters’ interactions than by excessive detail, which works to the novel’s advantage.” Andrew Wilmot reviews The Umbrella Mender in Broken Pencil magazine, August 2015.


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Coming September 2014

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