Short-listed for the 2002 Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction and the 2002 Roger Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize
Rescued from the dangers he faces in a Latin American military dictatorship, writer Carlos Romero Estevez is given a new life in Vancouver. His rescuers, a benevolent group devoted to aiding oppressed writers, believe they’ve found a poster-boy. Carlos thinks he’s found a new life, new freedom, and new, powerful friends. But soon everyone’s illusions are dispelled, and Carlos finds life in exile to be a new kind of prison.
Now available in trade paperback format for the first time, Exile is the work of an author in full control of her considerable talents. Award-winning author Ann Ireland is the author of two previous novels: A Certain Mr. Takahashi (1985 - now available from The Dundurn Group), and The Instructor (1996). She teaches at Ryerson University, and is a past-president of PEN Canada.
Ann Ireland is the award-winning author of two novels, A Certain Mr. Takahashi (which was made into the feature film, The Pianist), and The Instructor. She teaches at Ryerson Polytechnic University where she coordinates the Writing program in Continuing Education. She is a past-president of PEN Canada.
Ireland has written one of the year's best novels, a witty satire on cross-cultural expectations, the distances between people, and the frailty of good intentions.
Ireland's prose is intelligent, witty and subversive.
"This is a wise, funny, sad, and compassionate book. Carlos's chagrin and pain are palpable, but Ireland holds out hope that as a clever man with a talent, he may transcend his shallow past and desperate present."
This is a fable that feels very real.
Exile is social commentary at its subtle and witty best.
In the hands of a lesser writer, the broad strokes might simply have betrayed a lack of craft. But here, this deficit of details read more like a clever stylistic device used by a writer absolutely in charge of her tools. And there's no mistaking Ireland's talent.
Exile is a tour de force. I haven't been so amused and appaled by a fictional character since reading Vladimir Nabokov's Pnin.
This book will touch a nerve in the writing community. Not only does it reveal some of the motives of First World political networks, but it also examines cultural correctness and the universality of real freedom. Exile is not only a good read, it's a good-for-you read, particularly those given to benevolent acts of mercy.
Ireland's stint as president of PEN Canada undoubtedly opened her eyes to the tension between the artistic and political lives of writers around the world and the desire of Canadian cultural community to help (but only according to our rather bland and flat-footed rules). She paints these two solitudes with great wit and cunning observation.
It is a reflection of the strength of a novel.
Ireland's prose creates a vivid character in the flawed figure of Carlosand Ireland has deep insight into the lives of exiles.
Her characters are delightfully stereotypical, and she playfully puts people's prejudices and assumptions on display. As past president of PEN Canada, Ireland has cleverly and cheekily turned the work of that organization into folly, earning her a deserved nomination for a Governor General's Award for fiction.
Exile is a brilliant tour de force, a refreshing antidote to the flag-waving fictions of multiculturalism.