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By Jesse Ruddock

Shot-Blue is that rarest species, a genuinely wise novel.”
– Rivka Galchen

“Jesse Ruddock understands the weight of things that cannot be said aloud. A sensitive book about lives lived at the edge of society, in the shadow of an idyllic panorama, given voice only in the silence of adolescence.”
– Jenny Erpenbeck, author of The End of Days and Visitation

“Stunning and just so gracefully told. Ruddock’s landscape and characters are known by heart and her fierce and beautiful landscape makes you feel it.”
– Naja Marie Aidt, author of Rock, Paper, Scissors



Rachel is a young single mother living with her son, Tristan, on a lake that borders the unchannelled north – remote, nearly inhospitable. She does what she has to do to keep them alive. But soon, and unexpectedly, Tristan will have to live alone, his youth unprotected and rough. The wild, open place that is all he knows will be overrun by strangers – strangers inhabiting the lodge that has replaced his home, strangers who make him fight, talk, and even love, when he doesn’t want to. Ravenous and unrelenting, Shot-Blue is a book of first love and first loss.

Read an Excerpt: [Literary Hub Excerpt] [BOMB Magazine Excerpt]


“Jesse Ruddock’s debut novel offers many poetic and intimate moments . . . [she] writes [with] startling intimacy, evoking the pain of adolescent longing.”
– The New York Times

“This poetically written book is full of riddles, of characters talking past each other and misunderstanding one another in the vein of a Shakespearean love tangle… The novel is a fine corrective to fiction that assumes that people are rational actors and that motive is straightforward or even discernible.”
– Publishers Weekly

“In haunting prose, the author has created a moving and tense look at what becomes of children when they aren’t or can’t be cared for and must fend for themselves. It explores the depths of human emotion and the limits we struggle to overcome. A moving, lyrical novel that explores the emotional pain of hardship on children.”
Kirkus Reviews

“[Jesse Ruddock] is grasping at a poetry of the inexpressible . . . Tristan and his mother remain some kind of special – complex, vivid humans who completely lack the ability to name themselves as such. They might feel better if they could, sure, but it would rob Shot-Blue of its moments of magic.”
– Globe and Mail

“[Shot-Blue] unfurls an enigmatic tale of hardship, loss, and awkward fleeting connections…[it] rewards devotees of lyrical description and modernist wordplay.”
– Toronto Star

Shot-Blue is written in a style that somehow combines an easy-spoken blue collar minimalism with wordplay and lyricism. The oblique, hidden emotions of the characters are balanced in part by the ingenuity and playfulness of Ruddock’s language…[It] is a book that explores how it feels when things don’t happen, when you miss all your chances at redemption and don’t know where to turn. It is a novel about absence—of conversation, of love, of family, of connection—and that’s something special in its own way.”
– Cleaver Magazine

Shot-Blue is an electric debut novel from a young Canadian writer. Reading Jesse Ruddock’s prose sentence to sentence is like rowing at high speed, each stroke forward is a blunt, visceral experience. Shot-Blue is a story of poverty, youth, and loneliness, told with a purposeful gait and searing language.”
– Largehearted Boy

“[Shot-Blue], set on the mythical, dreamlike, and ultimately dangerous Treble Island in an uncertain era, sits precariously perched, as half parable and half could-have-been-true Canadian historical fiction . . . Ruddock’s ability to craft a complicated story into a haunting and vivid set of ideas of otherness and connection is clear.”
– Hamilton Review of Books


Jesse Ruddock talks to CBC Books about how dreams and diving deep inspired her debut novel

Shot-Blue Reviewed by The Winnipeg Review

Jesse Ruddock reveals her ‘Dirty Dozen’ in an Open Book Questionnaire


Coach House 2017

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