(From the publisher):
Sophie Walker has no choice but to leave Zimbabwe and return home to southern Ontario when she learns that her mother is dying. While her mother, an ardent wildlife painter, strives bravely against cancer's odds to retain a creative hold on her diminishing vitality, Sophie herself contemplates with incertitude the apparent aimlessness of her nomadic existence at the same time that she faces the desolate prospect of a long, gray Canadian winter on the family farm. Sophie is soon compelled, however, by the view from her mother's kitchen window, which surveys on the adjacent property not another farm but a small safari park. There a herd of immense Asian elephants parade daily in the snow under the patient eye of their trainer, Jo Mann, who one day, in the last light of an early dusk, with a vague beckoning gesture, summons to the watchful Sophie. She responds, and thus begins her "elephant winter." In the elephant barn at the safari park Sophie escapes the bleak melancholy of her mother's farmhouse and finds solace in the arms of the gentle, taciturn Jo Mann. More mysteriously, she experiences an undeniable if enigmatic communion with the noble, surprisingly elegant creatures under Jo's charge. Indeed, in their rumblings, bellows, and trumpets Sophie descries an empathic language that she sets out to decode. Inevitably, though, the real world encroaches on Sophie's winter paradise. Violence erupts, death takes its toll. But with her magnificent animal family Sophie ultimately makes her way truly home.
Original title: Elephant Winter
Genre: Fiction→ General Fiction→ Animals