Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Fiction Literary


by (author) Claudia Dey

Doubleday Canada
Initial publish date
Sep 2023
Literary, Contemporary Women, Family Life
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2023
    List Price

Add it to your shelf

Where to buy it


Named a Most Anticipated Book at The New York Times, The Globe and Mail, Elle Magazine, Literary Hub, The Millions, and the CBC.
“[A] darkly glittering tale. We are inside a howl.” —The New York Times Book Review
A searing and hypnotic tour de force about a woman, long caught in her charismatic father's web, who strives to make a life—and art—of her own.

To be loved by your father is to be loved by God.

So says Mona Dean--playwright, actress and daughter to a man famous for one great novel, and in fruitless pursuit of the next, whose needs and insecurities exert an inescapable pull and exact an immeasurable toll on the women of his family: Mona, her sister, her half-sister, their mothers. His infidelity destroyed Mona's childhood, setting her in opposition to a cold, cruel stepmother who, though equally damaged, disdains her for being broken. Then, just as Mona is settling into her life as an adult and fledgling artist, he begins a new affair and takes her into his confidence. Mona delights--painfully, parasitically--in his attention. When he inevitably confesses to his wife, Mona is cast as the agent of disruption, punished for her father's crimes and ejected from the family.

Mona’s tenuous stability is thrown into chaos. Only when she suffers an incalculable loss—one far deeper and more defining than family entanglements—can she begin supplanting absent love with real love. Pushed to the precipice, she must decide how she wants to live, what she most needs to say, and the risks she will take to say it.

Claudia Dey chronicles our most intimate lives with penetrating insight and devilish humour. A novel as volatile and far-reaching as its title, Daughter is an obsessive, blazing examination of the forces that drive us to become, to create and to break free.

About the author

Claudia Dey is a graduate of McGill and the National Theatre School. Her plays, Beaver (2000), The Gwendolyn Poems (2002) and Trout Stanley (2005) have been performed in Toronto, Montreal, New York and Vancouver. The Gwendolyn Poems was shortlisted for the 2002 Governor Generalâ??s Literary Award and a Trillium Award. Dey also the author of the acclaimed novel Stunt.

Claudia Dey's profile page

Editorial Reviews

“Stunning . . . [Claudia Dey] balances feverish melodrama with chilled and precise prose . . . In Daughter, Mona wages her own war, over her power as a writer, and as a woman. This beautiful and piercing novel is her hard-won victory.” —Meg Howrey, The New York Times Book Review

"Despite its cool interiority and absence of direct dialogue, Daughter has the feel of an ensemble piece where minimal backdrops highlight the emotionally astute drama unfolding against them." —Emily Donaldson, The Globe and Mail

“An unflinching yet tender look into the dark heart of family-inflicted trauma, and the love that persists in spite of betrayal . . . Daughter is a raw, robust portrait of a young woman’s loss—and the courage she needs to live with it.” Elle

"Dey’s fluid, feverish sentences are beautiful and unexpected. Daughter grapples with the impossibility of separating oneself from the projections and expectations of the people who make us.” The Walrus

“A literary Succession . . . I couldn’t help but think of Ferrante, too: how the greatest stakes are drawn from the most domestic scenarios, how the sentences sometimes extend beyond themselves and other times conclude in a cold staccato.” Literary Hub
"Dey’s star is on the rise in Toronto and beyond. Reading the novel’s ravenous, clear-eyed prose, one can understand why. Dey’s writing feels akin to jumping into an alpine lake. For a few seconds, you’re in shock—and then suddenly, you’re overwhelmed with sensation, hyperconscious of your own aliveness and its perverse proximity to numb unfeeling. The immediacy is unnerving, addictive, almost frightening. Yet the intensity of Daughter’s voice is grounded by its protagonist’s realness." Interview Magazine

Daughter—with its sly, incandescent rage and lovely prose—may be [Dey’s] best work yet.” The Kit

"[Daughter] blurs self with other to create an estrangement so painful that the only escape is in art. . . . Emotionally intense." Booklist

“Extraordinary . . . An original and powerful novel that a reader won’t easily forget.” New York Journal of Books

"Daughter understands the complexity of family, our inability to choose who we love and the inextricable links that bind us together and make us feel whole. Dey’s prose is a livewire, waiting for a spark that could be set off with a flick of the page." —Streets of Toronto

"Daughter is a breathtaking and brilliant novel about the exquisite pain and agony that comes from loving and needing certain people in our lives to love us back, to love us better. It is also about how we are relentless animals, wild and searching, trying to get our crushed, hungry bodies into our wolf packs. I loved this beautifully written book and was profoundly moved by it, so uncompromising and so true." —MIRIAM TOEWS, author of Fight Night and Women Talking
"This novel conveys, in a controlled, lucid and elegant manner, the confusions and longings of a daughter whose father only knows how to relate to women as romantic objects. The dynamics between him, her husband, and her vain stepmother, provide a taut and tense narrative about the quest for individuality and connection. It's also a formally inventive book—while still being deeply accessible—about how much we can know about others, and how well we can know ourselves. Claudia Dey describes feelings and struggles I haven't encountered in other novels. I loved this beautiful book." —SHEILA HETI, author of Pure Colour and Motherhood
"In Daughter, Claudia Dey writes beautifully about the special claustrophobia of family and how it can rearrange both art and life." —RAVEN LEILANI, author of Luster

"I am a huge fan of Claudia Dey's and I will go wherever she takes me with her prose—always elegant, yet brimming with colour and sharpness, it never fails to breathe new life. I loved Daughter in all its gorgeous power." —SOPHIE MACKINTOSH, author of The Water Cure and Cursed Bread

"Daughter reads like a thrilling fever dream. Claudia Dey has figured out the recipe for a novel that becomes a climate, as immersive, honest, and addictive as family." —MARIE-HELENE BERTINO, author of Parakeet
"Daughter is so true to how life feels in its brief bursts and flash cuts. The spare and electric prose is like birds alighting on a single tree, making sense of the 50,000 directions they have come from. I gasped. I teared up. This book entered my soul. Daughter is about where we are bound and where we are free. It is original, seductive and so alive. It is always moving forward. Claudia Dey is a phenomenal and profound writer, and with Daughter, she has drawn a perfect circle." —LESLIE FEIST, musician

Other titles by Claudia Dey