Come, Thou Tortoise
Rule Number One of Tortoise Ownership: Never assume a tortoise is dead.
"Extraordinary, original and simultaneously both deep and lightheartedly charming. . . Come, Thou Tortoise had me from Word One. Jessica Grant has an engaging, wry and forthright style, which echoes Miriam Toews, Don DeLillo, Lewis Carroll and Kurt Vonnegut Jr. . . It's a delight. Pick it up, and prepare to see everything from Methusalan mice to palm trees in England. Pack a lunch. You may end up reading all day."
-The Globe and Mail
"Jessica Grant's Come, Thou Tortoise should be issued with a health warning: you will split your sides laughing, your eyes will leak, your heartrate will accelerate, and the abundance of wit will rewire the synapses in your brain. This book is astoundingly unique. A novel about fathers and daughters, love and loss, the wisdom that accumulates over the ages, and that ancient instinct to come home. Joyful. A tortoise de force."
-Lisa Moore, author of Alligator
"In Come, Thou Tortoise, everything on the top shelf is now in the bottom drawer, and all the things you left in your backyard happen to be under your pillow. Mysteriously, this difference is all the encouragement you need to evict nonchalance from your heart. Please--I beg you dear reader--read Jessica Grant."
-Michael Winter, author of The Architects Are Here
For Audrey Flowers, this rule applies to more than tortoises. When her father, an eminent biogerontologist, is felled by a Christmas tree hanging sideways out of a pickup truck, his death presents an unsolvable puzzle to Audrey. Come, Thou Tortoise is the story of her attempt to solve this puzzle, and a few others, in her own odd way.
Co-narrated by a three-hundred-year-old tortoise and starring a mouse who, by all appearances, is himself immortal, Come, Thou Tortoise unfolds in a world that is almost, but not quite, our own. Tortoises read Shakespeare. Pilots kiss their copilots. And you might just live forever if you can avoid the dangers: fast-moving Christmas trees, crashing airplanes, faulty Christmas lights, cliffs when you are lonely, staircases when you are tired.
Come, Thou Tortoise is a darkly comic but unswervingly optimistic first novel from Newfoundland writer Jessica Grant. Full of wordplay and hijinks, it sparkles like a brand new set of retina-burning Christmas lights.
- Knopf Canada, Spring 2009
- Old Street Publishing, UK, Spring 2009
- Manhattan/Goldmann, Germany
- Mistral, Netherlands
- ARC available
Winner of the 2010 Amazon First Novel Award
Winner of the 2009 Winterset Prize
Winner of the 2010 Evergreen Award
Shortlisted for the 2010 CLA Young Adult Canadian Book Award
Longlisted for the CBC Canada Reads Best Books of the Decade (2010)
Longlisted for the 2011 IMPAC Dublin Literary Award
"Audrey has a delicate dignity in a grownup world, a little girl mind to which the smallest details matter, even if, or especially because, she can't always see the big picture. The real success here is not the reptilian point-of-view or playfulness with language, but that Come, Thou Tortoise
manages to be touching without excess sediment. . . Sorry, sentiment."
"Jessica Grant’s debut novel is one of those rare books that manage to entwine humour – in this case, even outright silliness – with poignant insight and a captivating plot."
-Quill & Quire
"This is a novel that has the power to jab you in the vitals. . . A funny and sad and splendid first novel."
-Winnipeg Free Press
Calgary Herald interview