A GLOBE AND MAIL BEST BOOK OF 2022
AS FEATURED IN TORONTO STAR, ZOOMER MAGAZINE, AND ON CBC’S ONTARIO MORNING AND GLOBAL TV
For readers who love Mark Haddon, Miriam Toews, and Sally Rooney
Paisley Ratchford is trying to keep it together, but in eight weeks, the Toronto apartment building she lives in will be demolished. A last-ditch effort to reclaim her abandoned childhood home on Amherst Island plunges Paisley into memories of growing up in the tight-knit community, and into the obsessive compulsive disorder that has only ever offered a semblance of control. Her compulsion to count in sets of eight had little effect on thwarting bullies, her father’s bad luck, and her mother’s mental illness—all of which return to haunt her.
When help arrives in the form of Paisley’s old classmate and nemesis Garnet Mulligan, her predicament only worsens. For a shot at a future, Paisley needs to stare down her past, including all the habits that have stopped her from thriving. At Last Count is a wise and often laugh-out-loud funny tale that proves we don’t always need to believe everything our brain tells us.
Claire Ross Dunn is a Toronto-based TV writer who has worked on Degrassi and Little Mosque on the Prairie and has written several rom-com movies for streaming. Her in-laws lived on Amherst Island, Ontario, where the book is set, and she is still closely tied to its wonderful community.
“Written with humour and wisdom and delightful abandon, At Last Count negotiates a way through this often unfathomable life with loveable, fallible characters and a story you won’t soon forget.”—Jane Finlay-Young, author of From Bruised Fell
“Dunn has a way of making us laugh and cry in the same breath. She makes us think about the patterns we keep on retracing and the joy of taking flight.”—Abby Sher, author of Amen, Amen, Amen: Memoir of a Girl Who Couldn’t Stop Praying (Among Other Things)
“Full disclosure: I didn’t understand the allure of birding until I read At Last Count. Paisley Ratchford is a beautifully drawn character who has endured much in her short life. She has OCD, the depiction of which is at once realistic, sensitive, and uplifting. I couldn’t stop turning the pages as I followed Paisley’s journey to confront her demons. Claire Ross Dunn masterfully weaves heartbreak and hope together through the prism of searching for the rarest bird of all, happiness.”—Zarqa Nawaz, creator of Little Mosque on the Prairie, author of Laughing All the Way to the Mosque and Jameela Green Ruins Everything
“Claire Ross Dunn has written a beautiful novel! At Last Count is as touching and moving as anything by American bestseller Anne Tyler—that funny and heartbreaking chronicler of life’s disasters and how we manage to move through them.”—Antanas Sileika, author of Provisionally Yours