THIS INNOCENT CORNER
Published by Oolichan Books, 2010.
Fifty-year-old Robin Rowe returns to Dhaka, Bangladesh, her first visit since she was an exchange student there in 1970. The country, then East Pakistan, was on the brink of the war that led to its independence from Pakistan. Robin was repatriated just as the violence erupted, and as a result of the conflict, lost touch with her friends, and the Chowdhury family with whom she boarded that year.
On her return visit, Robin discovers a shocking truth about her legacy in the country. A well-intentioned act she carried out—thwarting an arranged marriage—has resulted in disastrous consequences: suicide, torture and the disappearance of the beloved Luna Chowdhury. Overwhelmed with this news, she returns home to Salt Spring Island, BC to find the roof of her house has collapsed.
As she deals with the reconstruction, she must come to terms with the consequences of her act in Bangladesh, as well as other unresolved parts of her life: the unexpected loss of her husband, Graham, a decade earlier, and her estranged relationship with her adult daughter, Surinder. Making peace with her mistakes and accepting the uncertainty of her future requires her understanding first the part she has played in the conflicts in her own life, and then becoming willing to engage with a world that is complex, unpredictable, and sometimes as stubborn as Robin herself.
This Innocent Corner Reviews
“Herring’s clear prose warrants reading.”
– Vivian Moreau, The Globe and Mail
“Presenting the physical as entranceway to the psychological is one of Herring’s skills, making for a book that is well-crafted and deeply satisfying.”
— Amy Reiswig, Focus Magazine
“…an excellent first novel…Herring writes skillfully. She frequently leads the reader to wonder why Robin acted in certain ways…and only gradually does she reveal the backstory to show us why.”
— Donna Firby Gamache, Prairie Fire Review of Books