Abandoned by his wife, a man lives alone in a small town by the sea. An unfinished novel cast aside in despair, he makes a living as a literary critic. His solitary life is suddenly interrupted when Virgil McKenzie moves into the house next door. Thirty years old, yet with a head of prematurely grey hair, she knocks on his door one day and asks him to read her poetry. Thus begins the development of a tender and surprising friendship between these two introverts who, for complex reasons of their own, have decided to retreat from society. Virgil is burdened with a past almost too painful to bear; and she is also suffering a terminal illness. Ostensibly looked after by two friends from her university days, this complex relationship of co-dependency is not always what it seems. Written with great care and sensitivity, "Swan Bay" is an intriguing novel about friendship, trust and belief. In coming to terms with her illness and seeking relief from her suffering, Virgil demonstrates remarkable courage and determination. Her short life becomes a gift to those she leaves behind.
"What really occupied my thoughts these nights as I sat up next to her with the sound of the wind outside, were questions. Is there a place where our destiny is decided? Was this terrible illness of hers predestined in some way - some fault line which had always existed, a trap waiting for her. Why had she been singled out?"