From Publishers Weekly
Isolated as Croyden Harbour may be from the social upheaval of 1968, the tiny village on the southeast Labrador coast plays host to its own revolution in Winter's sincere, self-serious debut. Jacinta and Treadway Blake are like any other couple in town--he's away on the trapline all winter, she's confined to domestic life. But the clarity of traditional gender roles begins to unravel when Jacinta gives birth to a hermaphrodite. Both Treadway and the local doctor decide the baby will be brought up as a boy--he's named Wayne, and his female genitalia are sewn shut. Meanwhile, Jacinta's friend Thomasina, quietly tends to the spiritual development of the child's female identity. Kept in the dark about his condition for most of his childhood, Wayne struggles to live up to the manly standards imposed by his well-meaning if curmudgeonly father, but when adolescence rolls around, Wayne's body reveals a number of surprises and becomes a battleground of physiology, identity, and sexual discovery. Though delivered at times with a heavy hand, the novel's moral of acceptance and understanding is sure to win Winter many fans. (Jan.) (c)
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Wayne, born into the harsh, rural landscape of Labrador, Canada, in 1968, is a hermaphrodite. It is his father who ultimately decides to raise him as a male and names him. Only Wayne’s parents and their friend Thomasina Baikie, also present at his birth, are aware of his gender duality. The two women silently battle against Wayne’s father’s gender assignment, and as Wayne grows older, he must contend with the two genders struggling for dominance within him. His father, Treadway, a trapper who spends most of his time outdoors, works hard to steer Wayne away from his feminine side. His mother, Jacinta, becomes increasingly estranged from her husband as she mourns the loss of her female child. Following the tragic death of her husband and daughter, Thomasina travels the world and sends enticing postcards to Wayne of the world beyond his own. A simple yet eloquent coming-of-age tale, this debut novel quietly questions our assumptions about gender by presenting us with a host of complex, evocative characters. A fantastic read that will appeal to fans of Jeffrey Eugenides’ Middlesex (2002). --Julie Hunt