Although Linda McNutt's Summer Point (Cormorant, 158 pages, $16.95 trade paper) is a much less ambitious and successful work, McNutt, a Nova Scotia poet and playwright, puts both these aspects of her background to good use. In spare, suggestive, image-oriented prose, she creates a series of short episodes-scenes, as it were-which provide glimpses into the lives of her characters.
The story is simple, a female coming-of-age tale based on flashbacks. A young woman, now grown up, returns to the family cottage, which has been recently deeded to her by her deceased aunt. She remembers her childhood at the place and contemplates the lives of her relatives, especially the uncle and three aunts who were such an important part of that experience.
As a "novel", a genre whose lines have become increasingly blurred, Summer Point falls short: it lacks weight, substance. Overall, it is not the sort of book one remembers vividly a week after having read it. However, McNutt has undeniable skill when it comes to focusing on a detail and making it meaningful. She handles her story with an appreciation for the important moments, those times in our lives-epiphanies, as some call them-when the world changes for us, irrevocably.