A time warp into the strange and painful life of men past, present, and future.
The second time Andrew sees his half-brother, Hugh, is at their father's funeral. Andrew has little interest in the father with whom he grew up, but Hugh, who looks like a country-rock star, is fascinated by the life and writings of the reclusive man he hardly knew. When Hugh finds a book in his father's study, a mysterious work by Rafael Estrada, he is certain that it holds the key to his identity.
A Song from Faraway takes readers from 19th-century Prince Edward Island to modern-day Iraq. An Irish-Acadian soldier carries his fiddle and folksong across the battlefields of the First World War. An orphan-turned-assassin pursues his target across the deserts of Mexico and Texas, using a novel as evidence for his location. Relationships are forged and broken, wars are fought, and trauma is handed down from father to son.
With whispers of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, A Song from Faraway pieces together "the stories that we tell about ourselves" in a picaresque novel of uncommon beauty and ferocity.
About the author
Deni Béchard's first novel, Vandal Love, won the 2007 Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best First Book. His articles, stories, and translations have appeared in a number of magazines and newspapers, including the National Post, Maisonneuve, Le Devoir, the Harvard Review, and the Harvard Divinity Bulletin. He has done freelance reporting from northern Iraq as well as from Afghanistan, and he has lived in over 30 countries. When he's not travelling, he divides his time between Montreal, Québec, and Cambridge, Massachusetts.
"Lavish and seductive, gloriously kaleidoscopic in conception, A Song from Faraway is a tremendous literary achievement. I fell under its spell completely."
Elizabeth McKenzie, author of <i>The Portable Veblen</i>
"Béchard ... gifts us with an observant, lyrical and powerful consideration of the violent expansiveness and dangerously flawed stories North American fathers have bequeathed to their sons. Tough of mind and tender of heart, its beauty is wholly entrancing."
"A Song from Faraway presents a quintet of clustered narratives, spiraling through 1879 to 2008 and seven countries, revealing intricate connections. Readers observe characters in moments of becoming — some quiet and some startling, replete with contradictions — as they assemble some understanding."
<i>World Literature Today</i>
"With perfect sentences Béchard writes about vulnerable lives, churning for recognition and purpose beneath the forces of history. The scope of this novel and the complexity of its characters are astounding. This book will make you rethink the incredible power of the stories we tell about ourselves and our inglorious past."
Jennifer Percy, author of <i>Demon Camp</i>
"Pieced together like a mosaic, through fractured angles and disparate pools of time, the book seems all the more fragmentary because of the strikingly different writing in each of the six segments. A tour de force of different narrative styles, the book hardly meshes with the views of those who insist writers should find their ‘own voice.’ Each segment, to boot, swarms with enormous narrative energy, the combination producing the effect of a turbulent flood of violence, volatile relationships, and psychological turmoil. Years pass in half a sentence, national borders and mountain ranges dissolve beneath the pen."
<i>The Ormsby Review</i>
"Brave and complex, A Song from Faraway offers a master class of characters that have nowhere to hide under the harsh light of their flawed lives. In this blanched terrain, Béchard proves himself to be a magician of a storyteller, deftly commanding the reader’s attention with one hand while the other produces surprise after magnificent surprise."
Dimitri Nasrallah, author of <i>The Bleeds</i>
"Powerful, intimate, and compelling, Béchard shows us how fiction meets and transforms history to become fiction again, how what seems faraway — our fathers’ battles, ancient art, the people we love — is nearby, and how mystery continues to propel both our histories and our private lives."
Johanna Skibsrud, author of <i>The Sentimentalists</i>
"A Song from Faraway brings us around the world, singing a song about the folly of truth. It is unsettling and playful and uncanny and breathtaking."
Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer, author of <i>All the Broken Things</i>
"A magnificent creation of enigmatic prose and conceptual realization."
<i>The Miramichi Reader</i>
"Béchard deftly parcels out connections and revelations, allowing his audience the pleasure of working out for themselves exactly how these dozens of disparate characters influence each other."