Celia is the struggling single mother of an exceptionally, angelically beautiful child: nine-year-old Rachel. All too aware of the precarious balance of the life she has built for the two of them, she worries about her daughter's longing for the father she has never met. When Rachel disappears one summer night during a blackout, Celia is stricken with guilt and terror about what her choices might now mean for her daughter's fate. The media coverage of the abduction is tremendous, running nationwide. Closely monitoring events is Ron, an appliance repairman who lives in the neighbourhood. Though Rachel is a stranger to him, he convinces himself that she is his responsibility. His feelings for her are at once tender, misguided and chillingly possessive. Tapping into the fears that lie just beneath the surface of modern urban life, HELPLESS is a haunting and provocative story of heart-stopping suspense.
Barbara Gowdy is a prize-winning Canadian author. THE ROMANTIC was selected for the Booker longlist, while THE WHITE BONE and MISTER SANDMAN have both been picked as TLS Books of the Year. Two of Barbara Gowdy's works of fiction have been made into films.