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Fiction Contemporary Women

Desperada

by (author) Sofia Mostaghimi

Publisher
Random House of Canada
Initial publish date
Apr 2023
Category
Contemporary Women, Family Life, Literary
  • Hardback

    ISBN
    9781039003392
    Publish Date
    Apr 2023
    List Price
    $32.95

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Description

In Sofia Mostaghimi’s sensational debut novel, a young Iranian-Canadian woman quits her job after her younger sister dies, and then flees her family, seeking escape and possibly transformation in travel, sex and drugs.

desperada (feminine desperado) in dire need of something; being filled with, or in a state of despair; hopeless; without regard to danger or safety; reckless; furious

Kora can't make it through the funeral for her little sister, Kimia, the bright star of her Iranian-Canadian family. She also can't go on with her life as if nothing has happened. Shocking her family and friends, she quits her job and books a one-way flight away from home, seeking experiences that will obliterate her sadness. Or maybe help her become more like Kimia, who was always able to act on her own desires and keep other people's expectations at bay.

Kora lands first in Iceland, chasing an old flame, trying to lose herself in "love." When that doesn't work out, she takes off again, for Paris, then Barcelona, Berlin, Istanbul and finally the party beaches of Thailand, drowning her grief and fear in alcohol, drugs, and sex. Her sexual encounters are always reckless, and sometimes dangerous. But almost despite herself, Kora begins to build an understanding of how to go on living after someone you love has died. By blowing up all the conventions that kept her ignorant of herself and her desires, she finds a path to healing.

Desperada is a provocative high-wire act of self-obliteration and self-discovery, thrilling, urgent and compulsively readable.

About the author

Contributor Notes

SOFIA MOSTAGHIMI is a Toronto-based fiction writer. Her work has appeared in Joyland Magazine, The Fiddlehead, and The Puritan, among others, and has been longlisted for the Journey Prize and the Toronto Book Awards. Desperada is her first novel.

Editorial Reviews

“Kora has a hole in her heart the size of her recently deceased sister. And there is nothing—not a lover, a bottle of wine or an exotic destination—that can fill it to her satisfaction. But her loss is our gain in this brave debut novel by Mostaghimi, whose words feel simultaneously like a bag of knives and a box of bandages. Desperada is the messy sibling to every ‘privileged-woman-travelling-the-world-finding-herself’ book out there, and thank god for that.” —Catherine Hernandez, award-winning writer of Scarborough, the novel and film

“After a devastating tragedy, a young woman embarks on an ill-advised trip around the world. In Sofia Mostaghimi’s Desperada, the familiar tale is re-imagined through the perspective of an unconventional heroine. Prickly and self-destructive, Kora courts danger at every turn and seeks oblivion, instead of redemption, on her journey. It makes for tense, heart-in-throat reading. Unsentimental and penned with unerring precision, this is a raw and raunchy debut from a remarkable new voice. Desperada is the anti-grand tour narrative I waited my whole life to read.” —Sharon Bala, author of The Boat People

“A supernova of a novel. Wrenching, gorgeous, funny, wise and brutal, Desperada is the tangled, searching heart of its heroine, Kora. Undone by her sister’s death, Kora hits the road, diving headlong into the pained body’s darkest urges—stylishly, hilariously, agonizingly dancing the knife-edge of self-atonement and self-obliteration. In her leopard print coat, Kora would make Henry Miller blush. Both a wild and glimmering page-turner and an exquisite travelogue of grief, I loved Mostaghimi’s fearless and magnetic debut.” —Claudia Dey, author of Heartbreaker and Stunt