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list price: $21.00
edition:Paperback
also available: Paperback Hardcover
category: Fiction
published: Feb 2017
ISBN:9780345811233
publisher: Knopf Canada
imprint: Vintage Canada

Dogs at the Perimeter

by Madeleine Thien

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literary
0 of 5
0 ratings
rated!
rated!
list price: $21.00
edition:Paperback
also available: Paperback Hardcover
category: Fiction
published: Feb 2017
ISBN:9780345811233
publisher: Knopf Canada
imprint: Vintage Canada
Description

In this, her second novel after the award-winning Certainty, Madeleine Thien continues to demonstrate her astonishing gifts as a storyteller.

Set in Cambodia during the regime of the Khmer Rouge and in present-day Montreal, Dogs at the Perimeter tells the story of Janie, who as a child experiences the terrible violence carried out by the Khmer Rouge and loses everything she holds dear. Three decades later, Janie has relocated to Montreal, although the scars of her past remain visible. After abandoning her husband and son, Janie takes refuge in the home of her friend, the scientist Hiroji Matsui. Janie and Hiroji find solace in their shared grief and pain--until Hiroji's disappearance opens old wounds, and Janie finds that she must struggle to find grace in a world overshadowed by the sorrows of her past.
     Beautifully realized, deeply affecting, Dogs at the Perimeter evokes the injustice of tyranny through the eyes of a young girl and draws a remarkable map of the mind's battle with memory, loss, and the horrors of war. It confirms Madeleine Thien as one of the most gifted and powerful novelists writing today.

Contributor Notes

MADELEINE THIEN's first book of fiction, Simple Recipes, won four awards in Canada and was a finalist for the Commonwealth Writers' Prize. Her novel Certainty was a national bestseller, won the Amazon.ca First Novel Award, and was a Globe and Mail Best Book. Her second novel, Dogs at the Perimeter, was also a Globe and Mail Best Book. Originally from Vancouver, Thien currently divides her time between that city and Montreal. The author lives in Montreal, QC.

Editorial Review

Praise for Dogs at the Perimeter:
"The story is so compelling, the characters so authentic and the writing so fine that you race through intently . . . savouring every page." Montreal Gazette
"Stark, beautiful prose." Maclean's
"Fiction like this, clear-eyed and truthful, can give a shape to the chaos of history. . . . Powerful and moving." The Times
"The beauty of Madeleine Thien's prose doesn't reside only in its clarity and elegance. . . . Thien, a deeply empathetic writer, enfolds her wounded creations in morally precise language, offering the consolation of, in effect, storytelling." The Globe and Mail

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A Truly Moving Novel

I have just finished reading Dogs at the Perimeter on the shores of Lake Beira in Colombo, Sri Lanka. In the magical land of Ondaatje, the sultry air caresses my thoughts and body as I pen these short reflections on Thien’s powerful work of friendship, closing a circle of longing, suffering and uncertainty.

Madeleine Thien’s narrative is a spell-binding odyssey into a dark and painful past. Janie, now a medical researcher in Montreal with a caring husband and a loving son, must relive the tragedy of her childhood in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge. Her return to this world of horror and absurdity is triggered by the sudden disappearance of her friend and colleague, Hiroji Matsui. Hiroji is a brilliant doctor, whose brother, Junichiro, vanished in Cambodia thirty years earlier while working for the Red Cross. Janie’s bond to Hiroji quietly unfolds in the opening chapters. While he is not her lover, at least not in the traditional sense, she is drawn to him through their common loss of loved ones in a distant land, and he becomes her soul mate. His unexplained absence crushes her existence and distances her from her husband and child. Convinced that Hiroji has returned to Cambodia in a renewed attempt to find Junichiro, Janie embarks on a physical and metaphysical voyage to a land that she has long locked out of her thoughts.

On the cover of my edition of Madeleine Thien’s entrancing novel, fellow Canadian author, Johanna Skibsrud, has graced Thien with the recommendation “If you read one Canadian book this year, let it be this one.” A fair comment but erroneous in adding “Canadian,” for Thien’s work transcends geographic boundaries and national identity. Nor is it really a “book,” but rather a cloud of thoughts, an experience as heavy and penetrating as the languid air of Lake Beira.

With Dogs at the Perimeter, Madeleine Thien has ascended into the inner circle of timeless authors who entrap your soul with their first lines of prose and subsume your thoughts into theirs until the last.

Dogs at the Perimeter is published by Emblem (McClelland & Steward) and is available at the Collected Works Bookstore in Ottawa.

Con Cú is the author of Soldier, Lily, Peace and Pearls published by Deux Voiliers Publishing.

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