Everything Turns Away by Michelle Berry

Read an excerpt

290 pages
Finished books now available


Canada: Wolsak & Wynn



Michelle Berry (Photo: Mark Raynes Roberts)
(Photo: Mark Raynes Roberts)

Michelle Berry is the author of three books of short stories and five previous novels. Her short story collection I Still Don’t Even Know You won the 2011 Mary Scorer Award for Best Book Published by a Manitoba Publisher and was shortlisted for a 2011 ReLit Award, and her novel This Book Will Not Save Your Life won the 2010 Colophon Award and was longlisted for the 2011 ReLit Award. Her writing has been optioned for film and published in the UK. Berry was a reviewer for the Globe and Mail for many years, and teaches online for the University of Toronto and is often a mentor at Humber College. Berry now lives in Peterborough, ON, where she operates an independent bookstore, Hunter Street Books.

Everything Turns Away

a novel by Michelle Berry


Everything Turns Away cover

After a dinner party on the night of September 10, 2001, a drunken young couple toddles home in the wee hours. By the time the planes hit the twin towers the following morning, their lives have changed irrevocably. Their teenage babysitter has gone missing, a neighbor has been murdered, and their marriage is almost over. If you like the work of Shari Lapena, Paula Hawkins, and Gillian Flynn, you will love this book.

The author says about the book: “The title of this novel comes from the poem ‘Musée des Beaux Arts’ by W. H. Auden, written in 1938 while Auden was staying in Brussels. In the poem Auden discusses the impact suffering has on humans. In the museum he contemplates the painting Landscape with the Fall of Icarus, now believed to be an early copy of Pieter Bruegel’s lost original. The painting depicts the goings-on of ordinary life, but in the lower right-hand corner the artist has depicted Icarus’s legs sticking out of the ocean, the aftermath of his wings melting from flying too close to the sun. Auden notes, ‘How everything turns away / quite leisurely from the disaster.’ He plays with the vernacular in an almost lighthearted way and notices how the world, even with this mythical man falling into the water, continues on. For me, this poem and this painting sum up what is happening in my novel. The world continues on, and everyone interprets the news of the world in different ways, depending on where they are and what they are doing. The characters (and even the dog) go on with their lives.”



“Everything Turns Away is an impressive mystery with strong thriller elements and well worth reading on that level alone. Where Berry excels, though, is with her attention to each character…. Everything Turns Away is also a powerful examination of guilt and shame, of attempts to dodge responsibility and remorse for doing so. It’s a novel of secrets and lies, of dramatic revelations and sudden, life-altering epiphanies. It’s also wickedly funny.” — THE TORONTO STAR

“As “Everything Turns Away unfolds, it offers a fascinating – if bleak – commentary on the way we act in times of widespread grief and trauma…. Berry’s skilled, unforgiving rendering of these flawed characters, along with her propelling prose, is exactly what makes the novel so compulsively readable…. With more depth than your standard thriller, Everything Turns Away rejects platitudes in the face of deep uncertainty to instead assert a painfully honest analysis of human behaviour.” — QUILL AND QUIRE, starred review





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