Rush Home Road Essays Online

Rush Home Road

a novel by Lori Lansens


  • The Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet profiles Lori
  • No. 1 bestseller in Norway
  • Lori interviewed by Norwegian journalist
  • Shortlisted for the 2003 Regional Commonwealth Book Prize for Best First Book
  • Shortlisted for the Rogers Fiction Prize
  • A Globe and Mail Notable Book of the Year, 2002
  • A Canadian bestseller

Heartbreaking and wise, Rush Home Road tells the life story of Adelaide Shadd, who finds redemption in old age, and Sharla, a five-year-old mixed race girl abandoned to Addy’s care by her white mother. Born in the first decade of the 20th century in Rusholme (inspired by the real town of Buxton), in southwestern Ontario, an all-black community settled by fugitive slaves, Addy Shadd is raped as a teenager and forced to flee the family home. She makes her way on foot to Detroit, where she becomes the housekeeper for an elderly man and his grown son, both of whom develop a crush on her. When misfortune strikes again, she sets off to make a new life for herself in Canada. Thrown off the train at Keating, not far from her birthplace, she meets and eventually marries the train porter, the wonderful Mose, with whom she has a daughter. But when tragedy strikes, Addy is left alone.

Now an old woman, she lives a quiet existence in a trailer park near Chatham. Her wholeworld changes when a young mother asks her to babysit her daughter, as it soon becomes clear that the mother is never coming back. Addy is glad of the company, but not sure if she’s up to the job of mothering this sweet, awkward five-year-old. Nor is she sure how much longer she’ll be around to do so. How she manages is part of the story of this brilliantly captivating novel.

Written with verve, grace and unflinching emotional acuity, Rush Home Road is an epic story that explodes our notions of identity, justice, and heroism, penetrating one of our darkest periods with profound insight and humanity. Addy Shadd is a protagonist like no other – full of quiet, steely bravery and tenderness of heart. This spellbinding novel will leave no reader untouched.


“The story's beauty is in its simplicity. Told coldly, without pretension, it reveals Lansens as an honest writer with a convincing knowledge of her characters and chosen period. She takes racism, love, hate, violence, and forgiveness in her stride.”  — SUNDAY EXPRESS, UK

“Rush Home Road, the story of a 70-year-old woman's journey through the nearly unbearable sorrows of her past, in order to save an abandoned little girl, is a first novel of exquisite power, honesty, and conviction. Its portrait of how much has changed, and how little, over nearly a century, in the realms of race, love, hate, and loss, is quite nearly without flaws.”  — JACQUELYN MITCHARD, author of The Deep End of the Ocean and A Theory of Relativity

“A poignant novel about the power of love and forgiveness.”  — BOOKLIST

“To read Lansens' Rush Home Road is to read Alice Munro's Lives of Girls and Women coupled with Margaret Laurence's The Stone Angel, but as if both novels had been penned by Toni Morrison.... Lansens is a brilliant talent, with a profound, big-hearted comprehension of human flaws and humane possibilities.”  — THE GLOBE AND MAIL

“Those two people [Addy and Sharla] are powerful creations who will grab even reluctant readers and hold them until the end, showing that you not only can go home again but you can also go triumphant.”  — NASHVILLE CITY PAPER

“A book with the power to captivate.”  — THE IRISH TATLER

“A stunning debut novel.”  — SUNDAY EXPRESS, UK

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