A precisely crafted, darkly humorous portrait of a family in mourning
Sunday’s father is dying of cancer. They’ve come home to Malagash, on the north shore of Nova Scotia, so he can die where he grew up. Her mother and her brother are both devastated. But devastated isn’t good enough. Devastated doesn’t fix anything. Sunday has a plan.
She’s started recording everything her father says. His boring stories. His stupid jokes. Everything. She’s recording every single “I love you” right alongside every “Could we turn the heat up in here?” It’s all important.
Because Sunday is writing a computer virus. A computer virus that will live secretly on the hard drives of millions of people all over the world. A computer virus that will think her father’s thoughts and say her father’s words. She has thousands of lines of code to write. Cryptography to understand. Exploits to test. She doesn’t have time to be sad. Her father is going to live forever.
Joey Comeau is the author of four novels and the webcomic A Softer World. His work has been nominated for the ReLit and Shirley Jackson awards, has appeared in the Best American Non-Required Reading and the Guardian, has been profiled in Rolling Stone, and has recently been translated into French, Spanish, Turkish, and German. He lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
“[A] sly and affecting novella . . . Mr. Comeau grasps a crucial truth that the most important characters in fiction about death are the survivors, and this book ends not with visions of the deluge but the promise of the rainbow sign.” — Wall Street Journal, best new fiction
“A spare, ice pick-sharp look at coping with death. . . A fine fable for all smart readers.” — Library Journal
“Known primarily for darkly comic novels and the webcomic A Softer World, Comeau effortlessly switches gears to expose the trauma, heartbreak, and humor in loss. . . an immensely touching tribute to a very human struggle with mortality.” — Publishers Weekly
“Malagash is a unique take on death in the digital age. Comeau presents a forthright yet eloquent story about life, death, and what we leave behind. Highly recommended.” —Atlantic Books Today
“Graceful images, scenes and dialogue blossom, meaning Malagash rings with authentic emotion. . . Comeau gives readers a spare novel that feels real when it counts.” — Toronto Star
“Witty and poignant. . . It perfectly captures the all-too-relatable feeling of dealing with loss. . . Comeau's fragmented sentences and short chapters provide a darkly humorous yet thoughtful read — one that will leave you feeling melancholy long after you're done.” – THIS Magazine
“A glimpse of Sunday's family was all it took for me to be invested in this preteen girl and her introspective journey through the pain of a parent's illness.” – Canadian Living
“Malagash is an unexpected little book, a slim novella by Joey Comeau, full of wit and punch and wisdom. . . Comeau's writing is pithy, and filled with flashes of delight and sadness. The characters, even when overheard from a distance, inspire affectionate and knowing smiles from the reader. Malagash lets air and light – and laughter – into the room of grief.” – Scene Magazine
“Malagash is a poignant snapshot of the wonder, joy, sorrow, and reckless daring of being alive. With it, Joey Comeau cements his place among Canada’s most talented and original writers. I loved this cleverly tender and unforgettable heartbreak of a book and I know you will too. A Monster Calls for a plugged-in age.” — Courtney Summers, author of This Is Not a Test and All the Rage
“Malagash offers a contemporary narrative about grief and the complex emotional struggle it engenders . . . Comeau creates his own kind of virus with his prose, something I haven't been able to shake off since reading.” — Strange Horizons
“It’s an escape for these characters that is explored to touching effect by Comeau’s tranquil, lyrical prose...Comeau’s novel lingers with its small pithy truths, its big pithy truths and all the stuff in between.” — The Coast