The Landing

John Ibbitson
Fiction; coming of age
Target Age

Set in 1930’s Muskoka, where hardship abounds and opportunities are few, The Landing is a novel that will appeal to anyone who has felt confusion about their future. Ben Mercer is a 14 year old trapped on an island with his curmudgeonly uncle and his widowed mother where the family attempts to scrape together a living by farming and doing odd jobs for the wealthy cottagers. There is little hope for Ben, who dreams of becoming a violinist and moving away from the island. During the summer, a wealthy, elderly widow, Ruth Chapman, takes over the cottage where Ben and his uncle are the caretakers. Her lavish parties and wild friends from New York open Ben’s eyes to the possibilities available in the world outside Muskoka and make him long for more in life. When Ben plays his violin for her and her guests, he sees his own potential as a musician. However, by the end of the summer, Ben sees his dreams dashed when Ruth leaves and doesn’t plan to return, taking with her any hopes of escaping his present conditions. The Landing is a coming of age story where tragedy becomes the catalyst for a new life. This book was a finalist for the Governor General’s Award 2008.

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