nothing but life: a novel forthcoming from Dundurn Press on February 16, 2021
Dills and his mom have returned to Hamilton, her hometown, hoping to leave the horrors of Windsor behind. But it’s impossible to escape the echoes of tragedy, and trouble always follows trouble.
When Dills hurts a classmate at his new school, it comes out in court that he was in the Windsor High library when the shooter came in. But he won’t talk about what he saw, what he still sees whenever he closes his eyes. He can’t. He definitely can’t tell anyone that the Windsor Shooter is his stepfather Jesse, that Jesse can speak into his mind from hundreds of kilometres away, and that Dills still loves him even though he committed an unspeakable crime.
How quiet the bells of heaven must be, cold with stars who cannot rhyme their brilliance to our weapons. What rouses our lives each moment? Nothing but life dares dying. ~ Rachel Eliza Griffiths, "26"*
Preorder at your favourite independent bookseller, or online at the links below!
"NOTHING BUT LIFE offers readers what the news often fails to provide in the wake of a mass shooting — what remains in the aftermath beyond sensationalism and how those affected grieve. In following a young boy and his family's journey toward healing after someone they love commits unthinkable violence, this novel sings with sorrow, yes, but also with great empathy and love." ~ Anne Valente, author of The Desert Sky Before Us and Our Hearts Will Burn Us Down
Capturing perfectly the tender chaos of adolescence, NOTHING BUT LIFE grabs you by the heartstrings and won’t let go. Beautifully written, satisfyingly redemptive. ~ Roz Nay, bestselling author of Hurry Home and Our Little Secret
"van Staalduinen has once again created an unforgettable character and voice. In Dills, he brings forth our seething, hurting unpredictability along with all of our innocence, reminding us that love is that thing which complicates us and yet also, ultimately, makes us who we are. NOTHING BUT LIFE is a gentle and yet razor-sharp look into what hurts and heals us, filled with a wisdom that permeates every sentence." ~ Amanda Leduc, author of The Miracles of Ordinary Men and the forthcoming The Centaur's Wife
“I plead guilty of course.” As Dills tells his story and shares the worst and weirdest summer of his life, it feels deliciously like eavesdropping. A compelling read. ~ Karen Bass, author of Two Times a Traitor
With grateful acknowledgment of granting support from: