Origin of Haloes

origin of haloes“Stories seem to shimmy from den Hartog’s pores.”
The Globe and Mail

Origin of Haloes was published by McClelland & Stewart in 2005. It follows the lives of two families set against the backdrop of twenty years of summer Olympic Games. The story revolves around a lie, and the sudden disappearance of a man named Joe, last seen carrying his red canoe to the river.

It begins:

As Kay Clancy told it, one day she was jumping on the high-school trampoline, tumbling up and back down, and instead of landing and bouncing again, as she had done since she was four years old, she fell into Joe’s Herculean arms. Happy times followed. There was a child, Estelle, and then another, Louis, but while the third was still inventing herself inside her mother’s body, Joe wandered away — which was the part Kay so rarely mentioned. As the baby grew in the womb, the father faded, so together (but not) they formed the sad cliche of ships passing. From the beginning, the child called Margar was shockingly like him. She developed stiltish legs and dangling arms, flat brown hair and eyes that loomed in her face as though not quite fixed there — too big for the fine bones, too searching.

When he left, just weeks before her birth, it was his second and final disappearance. Where he went is anyone’s guess. As Margar settled into Kay’s bony pelvis in preparation for the short but momentous journey, Joe made strides of his own. He entered the garage and pulled out his red, scratchless canoe. He put it over his head like a dramatic hat, and he walked with it all the way to the shore of the Ottawa River, as he had done every day for weeks on end. The trees and birds saw him going. The fish saw the boat’s red bottom gliding along the river’s surface, the glint of a paddle dipping in.