Born on the twin backs of torpidity and obsession, In the Beggarly Style of Imitation is a voyage into the mind of one of the Canadian literary underground’s most unruly writers. Equal parts tribute to the historical genesis of the novel and the well-trodden subject of love, the exercises of imitation contained in this collection offer a brief survey through the illustrious forms and genres of literary expression: epistolary, aphorism, essay, picaresque, romance and satire culminate in a celebratory brand of fiction that proves with finality that imitation is truly the vilest form of flattery.
“Jean Marc Ah-Sen is my favourite stylist among young Canadian novelists, as committed to creating contrasting prose effects for each section of In the Beggarly Style of Imitation as he is to forging unique characters. There's writing about race in this book that is vital, surprising, discomfiting, all the more so because Ah-Sen maintains a tension between play and dead-seriousness that doesn't allow readers to firmly choose a side: the game remains undefined. I never knew what was going to happen on the next page, which is perhaps the rarest experience in reading.”
“Ah-Sen's work is a treasure—playful, curious and mischievous. Reading his work is like being guided through a storm by a generous but unhinged soothsayer, one who never forgets the pleasures of language or the vagaries of relationships. Ah-Sen is consistently capable of finding great beauty and piercing insight amidst the banalities of daily life.”