A moving story told in visual art and fiction about gentrification, aging in place, grief, and vulnerable Chinese Canadian elders
Bringing together ink artwork and fiction, Denison Avenue by Daniel Innes (illustrations) and Christina Wong (text) follows the elderly Wong Cho Sum, who, living in Toronto’s gentrifying Chinatown–Kensington Market, begins to collect bottles and cans after the sudden loss of her husband as a way to fill her days and keep grief and loneliness at bay. In her long walks around the city, Cho Sum meets new friends, confronts classism and racism, and learns how to build a life as a widow in a neighborhood that is being destroyed and rebuilt, leaving elders like her behind.
A poignant meditation on loss, aging, gentrification, and the barriers that Chinese Canadian seniors experience in big cities, Denison Avenue beautifully combines visual art, fiction, and the endangered Toisan dialect to create a book that is truly unforgettable.
About the authors
Daniel Innes’s extensive portfolio includes painting and installation, graphic and textile design, sign painting, and tattooing. His work has attracted many clients, including Minnow Bathers and Toronto Metropolitan University, and he has exhibited in both Toronto and New York. danielinnes.com.
Christina Wong is a playwright and prose writer, and also works in sound installation, audio documentaries, and photography. Her plays have been performed at Factory Studio, Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace, and Palmerston Library Theatre. Wong’s work has also appeared in TOK Magazine, the Toronto Star, and on CJRU 1280AM. Innes and Wong both live in Toronto.
“In Denison Avenue, we watch a recent widow desperately tread water in a city drowning under waves of gentrification. This tender lyrical novel is an anthem of grief, a swan song to cities as we know them and the loved ones we lose along the way.” — Catherine Hernandez, author and screenwriter of Scarborough, the novel and film