The Sentimentalists

The Sentimentalists

By Johanna Skibsrud

W. W. Norton & Company, Hardcover, 9780393082517, 208pp.

Publication Date: May 2011

Haunted by the vivid horrors of the Vietnam War, exhausted from years spent battling his memories, Napoleon Haskell leaves his North Dakota trailer and moves to Canada. He retreats to a small Ontario town where Henry, the father of his fallen Vietnam comrade, has a home on the shore of a man-made lake. Under the water is the wreckage of what was once the town - and the home where Henry was raised. When Napoleon's daughter arrives, fleeing troubles of her own, she finds her father in the dark twilight of his life, and rapidly slipping into senility. With love and insatiable curiosity, she devotes herself to learning the truth about his life; and through the fog, Napoleon's past begins to emerge. Lyrical and riveting, The Sentimentalists is a story of what lies beneath the surface of everyday life, and of the commanding power of the past. Johanna Skibsrud's first novel marks the debut of a powerful new voice in Canadian fiction.

About the Author
Johanna Skibsrud is the author of The Sentimentalists, winner of the Scotiabank Giller Prize, and This Will Be Difficult to Explain, as well as two poetry collections. She lives in Tucson, Arizona.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Johanna Skibsrud's award-winning debut novel about an alcoholic father's relationship with his adult daughters was written for a master's thesis at Concordia University. Book critic Maureen Corrigan says the language of the story settles deep into a reader's consciousness. More at

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