Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Fiction Small Town & Rural

Elizabeth and After

Penguin Modern Classics Edition

by (author) Matt Cohen

Knopf Canada
Initial publish date
Aug 2017
Small Town & Rural, Family Life, Literary
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Aug 2017
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2000
    List Price

Add it to your shelf

Where to buy it


Winner of the Governor General Award for Fiction, Elizabeth and After is a final parting gift from the talented Matt Cohen, delivering this haunting tale of love, loss, family and grief.

     Ever since the death of his mother, Elizabeth McKelvey, Carl McKelvey has been away from his small-town home of West Gull for three years. When his father, William, steals a car and lands in the middle of Dead Swede Lake, Carl comes back home to pick up the pieces. But Carl's homecoming is anything but joyful, as he confronts the past he tried to run from: the guilt he holds over his role in his mother's death, his fractured relationship with his ex-wife Chrissy, and his daughter Lizzie, whom he hopes to reconcile and reconnect with. At the center of it all is Elizabeth, a woman whose death reveals secrets of her own.

About the author

Matt Cohen was born in Kingston, Ontario in 1942. He received his B.A. and M.A. from the University of Toronto. In the late 1960s he taught political economy at McMaster University before becoming a full-time writer. Since 1969 he has published twenty books, including novels, short stories, poetry and two books for children.

He received critical acclaim for many of his books, notably `The Salem Novels` - The Disinherited (1974), The Colours of War (1977), The Sweet Second Summer of Kitty Malone (1979), Flowers of Darkness (1981), and Emotional Arithmetic (1990). He was short-listed for the Governor General's Award in 1979 for The Sweet Second Summer of Kitty Malone and was a finalist for the 1988 Ontario Trillium Award for his short story collection Living on Water. As well, his short stories have twice won National Magazine Awards, and his books have been translated into Dutch, French and Portuguese.

Matt Cohen died in 1999.

Matt Cohen's profile page


  • Nominated, International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award
  • Winner, Governor General's Literary Awards - Fiction

Editorial Reviews

"Elizabeth and After constantly surprises with its compassion and generosity, and its luminous appreciation of landscape and community." -- Governor General's Award Juror's Citation

"A superb piece of storytelling." -- Saturday Night
"A mature, funny, engaging ... wonderful novel ... that nails you to the chair cushions (or bed pillows) from start to finish."-- The Edmonton Journal
"A novel with the power to remind readers why they read fiction in the first place ... It comes at age-old sorrow and joys from a new angle, and so serves as a reminder that the most astonishing of miracles is simply to be alive." -- Maclean's

Other titles by Matt Cohen