Award-winning novelist and critic Andre Alexis explores worlds with names such as Henry James, Maupassant, and Kawabata, trying, like any traveller, to faithfully convey what he sees and feels in those places while giving a convincing portrait of himself. At the same time, Beauty and Sadness is an autobiography. Alexis's intent is to give a sense of what it is like to live ecstatically through literature -- what it is like to read Tolstoy and feel that The Death of Ivan Ilych, for instance, is connected to the land of his birth, Trinidad, as intimately as it is to his home, Canada.
In the final piece of the book, entitled "Water", Alexis gives the reader an intimate sense of what it has been like to live as a writer these last twenty years while practicing an art form (fiction/literature) that he contends is in decline. In the author's own words: Beauty and sadness is where world and words meet.
Andre Alexis was born in Trinidad and grew up in Canada. His debut novel, Childhood, was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize, and won the Amazon.ca/Books in Canada First Novel Award and the Trillium Book Award. He is the author of several acclaimed works of fiction, including the story collections Despair and Other Stories of Ottawa and Asylum. Alexis is the host and creator of CBC Radio's Skylarkin'. He lives in Toronto.
His first collection of non-fiction defies categorization while remaining unified...It is a daring book, original and unsettled, and it takes risks.
...unique blends of fiction and autobiography.
...intriguing...a kind of tension and discomfort that our declining literary culture often glosses over.
These stories have the narrative potential to travel onwards, outwards. As far as our imaginations take us.
"...astonishing...[an] irresistible, one-of-a-kind work."
"...an example of how to recognize and to truly resolve to work with difference."