Be Sure to Close Your Eyes
Written by Hugh Hood
Publication Date September 01, 1993
The year is 1908, and Mary-Beth Sleaford is a five-year-old girl living in the countryside just north of Toronto. She etches an angel into a tower. Eventually Mary-Beth and her family move west to Saskatchewan, but one day, as an adult, she returns to the tower ruin and discovers that her angel is almost as bright as the day she carved it with a piece of brick.
Hood's heroine, the artist Mary-Beth Sleaford, is a true representative of her age. She embodies the English-Canadian character -- reticent and caught between American exuberance and British reserve. Mary-Beth, in her journey from eastern to western Canada and then back east again, moves from the heights of love and joy to the depths of despair and tragedy, only to rise once more with the promise of newfound fulfillment. There is much of heaven in Be Sure to Close Your Eyes, but there are also glimpses of the darker side of life, and at least one bona fide emotional shocker.
Hugh Hood wrote 32 books. He taught English literature at the Universite de Montreal and was the author of seventeen novels, several volumes of short fiction, and five of nonfiction. He died in August 2000.