The Damages


A complex, challenging and thoroughly mesmerizing read.

Rosalind Fisher is eighteen years old, a freshman at a preppy Ontario University. An unlikable character, Rosalind is self-absorbed, shallow, and focused on the single-minded pursuit of the ‘cool’ kids, who she believes will automatically bolster her own insipid image. And Rosalind is a liar. A fact that becomes particularly damaging when Ros is involved in the unexplained, and somewhat mysterious, disappearance of her teenage roommate, during a terrible ice-storm.

At first glance, as her unfolding story plays out, Ros can be seen to be one-dimensional, unsympathetic and thoroughly unpleasant. But is this view appropriate? As Ros, our first person POV narrator, hyper-shunts us between then (her University drama) and now (twenty two years later, viewing her life from a cottage in Ontario, isolated with family members during Covid-19 lockdown), her story settles itself into layers, upon more layers, each as thin and subtle as the pastries Ros as baker will eventually learn to master. All in service of the ultimate reveal of a character as flawed and vulnerable and wounded as we all are, and perhaps more than a little deserving of our empathy.

I loved this book, and the skill the author displayed in crafting it, as she leads us, inch by inch to ask the question, “Are our own memories (really) the best way to understand who someone is?”

Can we count on memories to construct our own sense of who we actually ‘were’ and now ‘are’ – or can time, and life, and learning, move us on, to a better, more compassionate place from which to understand our story? And the ripples of those we seek to understand around us.

A fascinating read, and one which will sit with me.

A great big thank you to Netgalley, the publisher and the author for an ARC of this book. All thoughts presented are my own.


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