While The Sun Is Above Us takes readers deep into the extraordinary world of Sudan through the intertwined narratives of two women. In the midst of a bloody civil war, Adut is brutally captured and held as a slave for eight years. Sandra, fleeing her life in Canada, travels to South Sudan as an aid worker but soon finds herself unwittingly embroiled in a violent local conflict. When chance brings Adut and Sandra together in a brief but profound moment, their lives change forever.
In captivating prose, Melanie Schnell offers imaginative insight into the lives of innocents in a land at war, rendering horrific experiences with exquisite clarity. While The Sun Is Above Us explores the immense power of the imagination, the human desire for connection, and the endurance of hope.
Melanie Schnell grew up on a farm in southeastern Saskatchewan and has lived in Regina, Vancouver, Toronto, Boston, Colombia, Thailand, Kenya and Sudan. She has a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia and has written for television, magazines and journals across Canada. While The Sun Is Above Us is her first novel.
Anna Singer, a charmingly independent young New Yorker, feels derailed after losing her father to a car accident and her husband to a younger woman. She books a trip to India, hoping that there she will be able to put her grief into perspective. Though this is her first visit, India has always tantalized her: her English mother, Rose, was raised in Calcutta during the twilight of the British Raj, but seldom spoke of her childhood. Then, as Anna departs, Rose gives her a manuscript in which she has recorded her Indian memories--growing up with a Hindu ayah and a widower father, torn between two cultures and belonging completely to neither. Anna's sense of how she fits into the world is unexpectedly challenged by the daunting complexity of modern India, but even greater surprises are in store when she turns the pages of her mother's memoir.
There is Room for You brilliantly traces the experience of India from the dual perspectives of Anna, who flees to the country, and Rose, who fled from it. The unexpected parallels in the lives of mother and daughter become a nuanced contemplation of the nature of family in a world of profound suffering.
As a young bride, Susannah Page was rumored to be a Civil War spy for the North, a traitor to her Virginian roots. Her great-granddaughter Adelaide, the current matriarch of Holly Oak, doesn’t believe that Susannah’s ghost haunts the antebellum mansion looking for a pardon, but rather the house itself bears a grudge toward its tragic past.
When Marielle Bishop marries into the family and is transplanted from the arid west to her husband’s home, it isn’t long before she is led to believe that the house she just settled into brings misfortune to the women who live there.
With Adelaide’s richly peppered superstitions and deep family roots at stake, Marielle must sort out the truth about Susannah Page and Holly Oak— and make peace with the sacrifices she has made for love.