Never Going Back

21 September 2011

Never Going Back
by Antonia Banyard
Published by Thistledown Press
Review by Marie Powell Mendenhall
$16.95 ISBN 978-1-897235-69-0

Never Going Back is about a group of friends who do go back – to their hometown of Nelson BC, to confront their past and each other in order to move on with their lives.

The novels begins as Evan, Siobhan, and Lea make a road-trip home, some 10 years after high school, to attend the memorial of a high school friend. As they reunite with Lance and Mandy, they discover that each hides a secret related to their absent friend Kristy, and her suicide 10 years earlier.

As Siobhan remembers it: “There they’d been, on the verge of real life, so how could one of them die? But September came and they scattered, each in their own direction, and before she knew it, their tight-knit group was over.” For them, “High school is a state of mind. Not a building, not a stage of life, but a worldview. Some people never grow out of it.”

Antonia Banyard grew up in Nelson, after emigrating from Zambia to Canada, and recreates the setting with ease in her first novel. With chapters written from each character’s point of view, she helps readers understand the inner motivations of the friends as they interact. Their secrets slowly unfold, page by page, holding the readers’ attention to the end.

Banyard’s children’s non-fiction book “Dangerous Crossings!” was nominated for the Canadian Children’s Book Centre and Ontario Library Association’s Red Maple awards. Her writing has been published in literary magazines and anthologies in Canada and abroad.


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