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By Jamie Zeppa

“A captivating family saga—full of deeply felt observations and breathtaking tenderness—Jamie Zeppa’s debut is sure to steal your heart.”
-Ami McKay, author of The Birth House

“In Every Time We Say Goodbye, Jamie Zeppa does for Sault Ste. Marie what Alice Munro does for southwestern Ontario. The sense of place is palpable. The characters are reminiscent of the quiet tragedy of Richard B. Wright’s Clara Callan. A great read.”
-Catherine Gildiner, author of Too Close to the Falls and After the Falls

Zeppa_Every Time We Say Goodbye

A New Face of Fiction novel from the beloved writer Jamie Zeppa. A crossover literary-commercial novel of generations, Every Time We Say Goodbye is both heartbreaking and hopeful.

As eight-year-old Dawn waits for her father early one autumn morning, at the front door of her grandparents’ house, Jamie Zeppa immediately draws us into the tangled, tumultuous story of the Turner family of Sault Ste. Marie. Dawn and her younger brother, Jimmy, are the youngest generation of Turners and their unpredictable father, Dean, is finally coming to bring them to live with him in a new house with his new wife. Dawn calls this “Day One” — as in the beginning of her real life — and she is full of optimism. Her grandparents, Frank and Vera, however, are less so, since they know very well the ups and downs of their dear, but unreliable, son’s behaviour. From here, we travel back two generations into the past to the Great Depression and to the childhood of granddad Frank and his sister, Grace, as Jamie reveals how the family’s roots became weakened, and how the instability that was seeded then begins to ripple down through the family.

Rich with mysteries, plot twists, a paternity question, broken promises and in the end, some mending of hearts, Every Time We Say Goodbye explores what it means to leave, to be absent, to die; what connects us and what drives us apart. The Turners are not a small extended family, but they are so fractured that each branch of them is isolated, and the children are essentially orphaned. Jamie paints a tender, perceptive and detailed portrait of this unconventional, though not entirely dysfunctional, family.


“Every once in a while a delicious novel comes along, one that pulls you in and twirls you through its world until you look up and three hours have gone by. Or six. While there are many stories about families, what distinguishes this book is the compassionate wisdom that underpins it, the grace that echoes through it. To read this masterful (and humorous!) novel is to feel what it is to forgive and live bravely: with a tender, laughing, ever-opening heart.”
-Alison Wearing, author of Honeymoon in Purdah

 “A tender, exquisitely written story that aches and laughs and hopes, and never quite leaves you. Jamie Zeppa’s Every Time We Say Goodbye is driven by characters so real you nearly become them. A deeply penetrating novel.”
-Tish Cohen, author of The Truth About Delilah Blue and Inside Out Girl

“…a smart, accessible novel that has put Sault Ste. Marie on the map of the family epic.”
National Post

“[T]he beauty of this book is that it really is a crossover. Those who are looking for a simple, moving story will find it, but those who care to spend the time digging beneath the surface will be amply rewarded. Jamie Zeppa spent a long time working hard on a very good book. I will be eager to see what she does next.”
The Globe and Mail

“Zeppa manages the shifting timelines seemingly without effort. Zeppa’s narrative flows, linking her characters and their stories as we are pulled deep into their lives, always pleased to pick up their story once again.”
The Chronicle Herald

“A narrative concerned as much with fiction as with truth. . . . The novel . . . negotiates its own relationship with a variety of literary genres. . . . Jauntily written and stuffed with period details, Every Time We Say Goodbye crackles along. It is a good read.”
-Cathy Stonehouse, Literary Review of Canada

“[Zeppa] shimmer[s] with promise. . . . Jamie Zeppa, an accomplished travel writer . . . explores family dynamics and those emotional bugaboos—abandonment and longing—in her compelling first novel, Every Time We Say Goodbye.”
-Sandra Martin, ELLE Canada

“Zeppa’s fine sense of observation and atmosphere of Sault Ste. Marie remains throughout. You know its middle-class homes, cramped apartments, cheap hotel rooms; you breathe its daily life. . . . There is much to admire in the breathless, soaring first half of Zeppa’s book.”
Winnipeg Free Press

“Rife with raw and stifled emotion, broken dreams and broken hearts, [Every Time We Say Goodbye] is less a quiet triumph than a thunderous tour de force that keeps you laughing, hoping and turning every page until hours have slipped by.”
-Heather Camlot, Sweetspot (blog)

“[It] doesn’t do it justice, just to say what it is about. Better to say what it does to the reader, for the reader. If you are like me, with your ‘head in the clouds and tears in your eyes,’ you will find that this journey of a novel winds and wends you with it throughout the pages. It grips your heart and doesn’t let you put it down until you have come to the final words. Then you are left, like so many characters in the book, somewhat bereft. I am so very glad that a friend recommended this book to me . . . this book is so very well written––so tender and even funny at times, that I firmly believe it will soon be considered a Canadian classic, with pride of place beside Ann-Marie MacDonald and Carol Shields, two of my favourite Canadian authors. The fact that Every Time We Say Goodbye is her first novel . . . is even more amazing. . . . Read this book!”
-Natashya, KitchenPuppies (blog)

“Jamie Zeppa takes [the traditional] definition [of family] and flips it on its head in her wonderful new novel. . . . Fabulous coming-of-age story. . . . This is really a story about the new way families evolve. . . . Jamie Zeppa [demonstrates] fabulous story telling and hard work at interweaving a family and its growth over the years. This story takes zigs and zags that are unexpected and make you hold on tight in a sense, because you never know where Jamie Zeppa is going to take you. There were a couple of times I actually found myself getting frustrated, because we kept being introduced to new characters who I didn’t know and couldn’t connect to, but that feeling faded away quickly as I began to see what Zeppa was doing in creating the new 21st century ‘traditional family.’ Every character has a purpose and a place in the novel and the ending will once again take you in a completely different direction than you thought you were going. Jamie Zeppa is one of Knopf Random Canada’s New Face of Fiction authors and after reading her fabulous 352-page debut, it isn’t hard to figure out why!”
-Reeder Reads (blog)

“An entirely worthy first novel. For those of us born to these times . . . it is a valuable reminder of the circumstances that our parents faced.”
-KevinfromCanada (blog)

YouTube: Catherine Gildiner recommends Every Time We Say Goodbye, by Jamie Zeppa


Knopf Canada, March 2011


A Globe and Mail Best Book 2011

Other Books by Jamie Zeppa