Nominated by:

Calgary Public Library, Canada

Ottawa Public Library, Canada

Publisher of nominated edition:

McClelland & Stewart, Canada

The Purchase

Linda Spalding      

2014 Longlist

In 1798, Daniel Dickinson, a young Quaker father and widower, leaves his home in Pennsylvania to establish a new life. He sets out with two horses, a wagonful of belongings, his five children, a 15-year-old orphan wife, and a few land warrants for his future homestead. When Daniel trades a horse for a young slave, Onesimus, it sets in motion a struggle in his conscience that will taint his life forever, and a chain of events that lead to two murders and the family’s strange relationship with a runaway slave named Bett.

Stripped down and as hard-edged as the realities of pioneer life, Spalding’s writing is nothing short of stunning, as it instantly envelops the reader in the world and time of the novel, and follows the lives of unforgettable characters. Inspired by stories of the author’s own ancestors, The Purchase is a resonant, powerful and timeless novel.

(From Publisher)

About the Author

Linda Spalding was born and raised in Kansas. She is the author of three previous novels and two acclaimed works of non-fiction, A Dark Place in the Jungle, which was short-listed for the Trillium Book Award and the Pearson Writers’ Trust Non-Fiction Prize, and Who Named the Knife. The Purchase received Canada’s prestigious Governor General’s Award for English-language fiction. Spalding lives in Toronto, where she is an editor of the literary magazine Brick.

Librarians’ Comments

Winner of the 2012 Governor General’s Literary Award. One man’s betrayal of his own moral code creates unforeseen ripples that sweep over multiple generations. With meticulous yet seamless attention to historical detail, Linda Spalding transports the reader to 18th century Virginia in this mesmerizing work. The Purchase is an epic novel in scope, depth and heart.

An incredibly gripping story about the purchase of a slave by a Quaker man, and what ensues for his family in early 19th century Virginia. The mature writing style carries a strong tale, interwoven with moral ambiguity.

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