Longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize
Legendary war photographer Vivienne Pink has five days to photograph servicemen about to deploy for active combat. Racing to meet her deadline, she heads to Las Vegas, where she'll capture images of men who may die the next day?and where she'll confront an abuser from her past to force a reckoning. Accompanied by her husband, a celebrated novelist, and her best friend, a former CIA spook, Vivienne heads out into the Nevada desert in search of adrenaline, vengeance and the perfect shot. Told in a vivid, hallucinogenic realism, Death Valley is a sexy, fast-paced tale that's part Pynchon, part Tarantino and so radioactive you'll need a Geiger counter.
Susan Perly has worked as a journalist, war correspondent and radio producer for the CBC. In the early '80s her Letters from Latin America for Peter Gzowski's Morningside reported from locales such as El Salvador, Guatemala and Chiapas. During the Iran-Iraq war she broadcast Letters from Baghdad, and she produced many documentaries for the weekly program Sunday Morning. Perly is the author of the jazz novel Love Street, and her short stories have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies. She lives in Toronto with her husband, the poet Dennis Lee.
"A soldier, a novelist, a war photographer, an intelligence operative and a counterterrorism agent in a bird suit take a hallucinogenic road trip in Susan Perly's difficult-to-define novel about war, weaponization and fallout in the desert.... Vivienne Pink, the tough-but-damaged photojournalist, is an anti-hero for the traumas of the past half-century." - The Globe and Mail
"The novel defies genre, mashing up generous helpings of pulp fiction and spaghetti westerns with an abridged history lesson on America's nuclear heritage.... Hypnotic in its weirdness, Death Valley laments a world that has played host to the Cold War, the atomic bomb, and wars big and small from Vietnam to Iraq." - Toronto Star
"The novel becomes a commentary about the state of the world in which atomic bombs and wars have become commonplace. Thus, the absurdity of the world Perly describes is in fact a lament for the absurdity of the world we live in — a world that has played host to cold wars, world wars and too many other tragedies to count." - Winnipeg Review