Filmmaking student Buddy Whyte never visited his mother's hometown while she was alive.
But in the wake of her tragic death, he can no longer resist the lure of Naples, Virginia. He packs up his car and drives south from New York City with his camera. He means to make a short film about the town - and perhaps learn why Beth Whyte left it, and why she never went back.
Many people in the close-knit community are devastated to learn of the death of Buddy's mother -not least two brothers, Jack and Gil, who knew her best. Although they live and work side by side, a dark secret divides them, and they have not spoken to one another in years.
Through his camera lens, Buddy captures an unexpected story, including glimpses of his mother that challenge everything he thought he knew. But in a small town where even disparate voices agree that the past is best kept hidden from outsiders, will he actually learn the truth?
Near Canaan is an intricate and multi-layered novel of secrets and memory which explores the far-reaching, inescapable effects of the past.