A smart, accessible novel that has put Sault Ste. Marieon the map of the family epic.
In Every Time We Say Goodbye, Jamie Zeppa does for Sault Ste. Marie what Alice Munro does for Southwestern Ontario.The sense of place is palpable. The suffering characters are reminiscent of the quiet tragedy of Richard B. Wright’s Clara Callan. A great read.”
—Catherine Gildiner, author of Too Close to the Falls and After the Falls
Every once in a while a delicious novel comes along, one that pulls you in and twirls you through its world until you look up and three hours have gone by. Or six. While there are many stories about families, what distinguishes this book is the compassionate wisdom that underpins it, the grace that echoes through it. To read this masterful (and humorous!) novel is to feel what it is to forgive and live bravely: with a tender, laughing, ever-opening heart.
—Alison Wearing, author of Honeymoon in Purdah
It’s not your typical Bildungsroman. And though Zeppa does childhood exceedingly well, she does adolescence, adulthood and old age well too. The full spectrum of the human experience is spread out for us in an unpretentious and thoroughly convincing way. I also admire the simplicity of her writing, which . . .gets straight to the point. . . . All her characters are . . . sympathetic, even the bastardy, bitchy ones. . . . Zeppa shows off other literary chops as well. The secret to writing good historical fiction is simple: Make us feel as if the past is the present. Easier said than done, but a skilled author makes it look effortless. Zeppa takes us from the Depression to the late 1970s as smoothly as if we were on a guided tour in a time machine. Rather than sprinkle the story with lots of contemporary allusions and clever hints to remind us it’s 1942 or 1976, she focuses on her characters and their lives in the context of the times. It works, and it even feels original. . . . The beauty of this book is that it really is a [literary/commercial] crossover. Those who are looking for a simple, moving story will find it, but those who care to spend the time digging beneath the surface will be amply rewarded. Jamie Zeppa spent a long time working hard on a very good book. I will be eager to see what she does next.
—William Kowalski, The Globe and Mail
A narrative concerned as much with fiction as with truth. . . . The novel . . . negotiates its own relationship with a variety of literary genres. . . . Jauntily written and stuffed with period details, Every Time We Say Goodbye crackles along. It is a good read.
—Cathy Stonehouse, Literary Review of Canada
There is a quality to Jamie Zeppa’s writing that aims directly at the reader. Her characters speak their hearts in a way that makes Every Time We Say Goodbye read a little like a memoir. . . . Zeppa manages the shifting timelines seemingly without effort. Zeppa’s narrative flows, linking her characters and their stories as we are pulled deep into their lives, always pleased to pick up their story once again.
—The Chronicle Herald
I really loved it. It brings everything about Ontario into focus. You really felt that you were in Sault Ste Marie. . . . [Frank and Vera] are the perfect Sault Ste Marie grandparents. . . . You just know [Vera]. . . . You can see that Jamie Zeppa is trying to have a fight [about motherhood] in this book. . . . You can really tell when people are telling the truth from their own lives, because she writes so beautifully about what it is to have a baby boy and to love him and the terror of possibly losing him. . . . [Dawn is a] wonderful, wonderful character. . . . Each character is so flawed yet so loveable. . . . They give it all they’ve got.
—Catherine Gildiner, author of Seduction and After the Falls
[Zeppa] shimmer[s] with promise. . . . Jamie Zeppa, an accomplished travel writer . . . explores family dynamics and those emotional bugaboos—abandonment and longing—in her compelling first novel, Every Time We Say Goodbye.
—Sandra Martin, ELLE Canada
Zeppa’s fine sense of observation and atmosphere of Sault Ste. Marie remains throughout. You know its middle-class homes, cramped apartments, cheap hotel rooms; you breathe its daily life. . . . There is much to admire in the breathless, soaring first half of Zeppa’s book.
—Winnipeg Free Press
[A]n astute and effortlessly readable portrait of a family in crisis. . . . Zeppa has fortified this raw material with a rich family history, shifting dynamics and a gentle voice that allows the novel to waft, rather than plod, as it pieces together its characters’ disparate narratives. . . . [Dawn’s] disappointment is rendered with such empathy that even the most stone-hearted of readers will be moved. . . . Zeppa’s novel . . . [has] a compassionate and shrewd eye for character, [and Zeppa has] craft[ed] a smart, accessible novel that has put Sault Ste. Marie on the map of the family epic.
—Emily Landau, National Post
An exotic feast of adventure, wry observation and moving romance. A lovely book.
In the end, Zeppa’s is a lively tale of her earnest efforts to reconcile what she has learned with what she has known.
Her story reads like a good novel.... A special book.
Zeppa’s description of the terrain is breathtaking; her description of adaptation, growth, and transformation is both comforting and inspirational.
Many perceptive, lyrical passages.
With empathy, intelligence and self-mocking wit, Zeppa chronicles her passage from sheltered First World child to clearer-eyed citizen of a wider world.
—The Globe and Mail
Zeppa's description of the terrain is breathtaking; her description of adaptation, growth, and transformation is both comforting and inspirational. This is a story as much about personal triumph as about travel, and about people as well as place.
…her enthusiasm for Bhutan and its people is infectious and her descriptions of her encounters with Bhutanese culture are often funny and always enlightening…
Beyond the Sky and the Earth is an exotic and romantic story, an exhilarating testament to the transformative power of travel if one’s mind and heart are open to it.
A joy to read.
Her tale is part love story, part history lesson and part Buddhism 101....Zeppa writes romantically without romanticizing, and her fascinating story is something you'll marvel at the first time and want to go back to again and again.