Eyes Like Mine
by Sheena Kamal
Zaffre

The debut novel by Caribbean-born Canadian actress turned writer Sheena Kamal was inspired by her research for a television crime series about the high death rate of indigenous women in her adopted homeland. Kamal has described her work as subverting myths underpin­ning the Canadian dream. Her heroine, Nora Watts, is an outsider whose struggles contrast with the sup­posed cosmopolitan idyll of Vancouver. Able to weigh up a character with a single glance, Watts buries her own identity in alcohol and loneliness. The reason can be found 15 years earlier, when Nora was raped and left for dead. She gave birth to a daughter, Bonnie, who she quickly gave up for adoption. What ignites the plot is the sudden appearance of Bonnie’s adoptive parents with the news that Bonnie has vanished. Nora’s efforts to find her daughter return her to the darkest time of her life. The writing is spare but effective; the themes significant enough not to require the somewhat unsatisfying plot. Kamal is compelling enough not to require embellishment.