Let Us Be True

By (author): Erna Buffie

Finalist for the Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction

Finalist for the Eileen McTavish Sykes Award for Best First Book, Manitoba Book Awards

From the killing fields of Europe to the merciless beauty of the Canadian prairies, Let Us Be True tells the story of three women whose lives have been shaped and damaged by secrets–their own and those that stretch back through time, casting their shadow from one generation to the next.

At the heart of the novel is seventy-four-year-old Pearl Calder, a woman who has thrown away her past and kept it a secret from her daughters. But as Pearl confronts her own mortality, she begins to understand what her dead husband, Henry, has always known: secrets are like dark and angry ghosts. And they don’t just haunt you. They haunt everyone you love.

Alternating between the past and present, and between Pearl’s voice and the voices of her family members, both living and dead, the story explores how all of our lives, to a greater or lesser degree, are shaped by secrets: our own as well as ancestral secrets we may know nothing about, but which affect who we are and who we become.

Pearl is no exception. With a life that spans the Great Depression, the Second World War, and the deep conservatism of the postwar boom, Pearl’s secrets are rooted in events over which she had no control: the death of her mother; a father destroyed by war; a brother who adores her but who dies on the beaches of Dieppe, and a sister who abandons Pearl to save herself.


Erna Buffie

Short stories by Erna Buffie have appeared in Room, Prairie Fire, Pottersfield Portfolio, and The Vagrant Review of New Fiction. Let Us Be True, her first novel, originally published by Coteau Books in 2015, was nominated for the Margaret Laurence Fiction Prize.Erna is also an awarding-winning documentary filmmaker who has worked for CBC’s The Nature of Things and a variety of other national and international broadcasters. Her film Smarty Plants won “Best Direction” at the Canadian Screen Awards and aired on PBS’s Nature under the title “What Plants Talk About.”


Let Us Be True remains vital, present and taut throughout. A story as starkly beautiful as a prairie landscape.” – The Globe and Mail


  • Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction, Manitoba Book Awards 2016, Short-listed
  • Eileen McTavish Sykes Award for Best First Book, Manitoba Book Awards 2016, Short-listed
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    268 Pages
    8.5in * 5.5in * 0in


    July 09, 2024


    Shadowpaw Press



    Book Subjects:

    FICTION / Literary

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