A thrillingly elegant yet raw evocation of a woman clawing her way to a creative life, inspired by the story of surrealist artist Leonora Carrington.
We grant men a right to solitude. Why can't we do the same for women?
Born into a wealthy family in northern England and sent to boarding school to be educated by nuns, Ivory Frame rebels. She escapes to inter-war Paris, where she finds herself through art, and falls in with the most brilliantly bohemian set: the surrealists.
Torn between an intense love affair with a married Russian painter and her soaring ambition to create, Ivory's life is violently interrupted by the Second World War. She flees from Europe, leaving behind her friends, her art, and her love.
Now over ninety, Ivory labours defiantly in the frozen north on her last, greatest work - a vast account of animal languages - alone except for her sharp research assistant, Skeet.
And then unexpected news from the past arrives: this magnificently fervent, complex woman is told that she has a grandchild, despite never having had a child of her own ...
Heidi Sopinka has worked as a bush cook in the Yukon, a travel writer in Southeast Asia, a helicopter pilot, a magazine editor, and is co-founder and co-designer at Horses Atelier. She is widely published as a journalist in Canada, where she won a national magazine award and was The Globe and Mail's environment columnist. She has also written for The Believer. The Dictionary of Animal Languages, is her first novel.