This utterly addictive, brilliant novel about rum-running in the 1920s is like The Wire transplanted to Prohibition-era Detroit, by a writer of whom Stephen King has said: "Emily Schultz is my new hero."
Men Walking on Water opens on a bitter winter's night in 1927, with a motley gang of small-time smugglers huddled on the banks of the Detroit River, peering towards Canada on the opposite side. A catastrophe has just occurred: while driving across the frozen water by moonlight, a decrepit Model T loaded with whisky has broken the ice and gone under--and with it, driver Alfred Moss and a bundle of money. From that defining moment, the novel weaves its startling, enthralling story, with the missing man at its centre, a man who affects all the characters in different ways. In Detroit, a young mother becomes a criminal to pay down the debt her husband, assumed dead, has left behind; a Pentecostal preacher brazenly uses his church to fund his own bootlegging operation even as he lectures against the perils of drink; and across the river, a French-Canadian woman runs her booming brothel business with the permission of the powerful Detroit gangsters who are her patrons.
The looming background to this extraordinary story, as compelling as any character, is the city of Detroit--a place of grand dreams and brutal realities in 1927 as it is today, fuelled by capitalist expansion and by the collapse that follows, sitting on the border between countries, its citizens walking precariously across the river between pleasure and abstinence. This is an absolutely stunning, mature, and compulsively readable novel from one of our most talented and unique writers.
EMILY SCHULTZ's previous works of fiction include Black Coffee Night and Joyland, which received rave reviews and award nominations. She has also published an acclaimed book of poetry, Songs for the Dancing Chicken. Both her novels Heaven is Small and The Blondes were finalists for the Trillium Award. Schultz is the co-founder, with husband Brian Joseph Davis, of the popular and influential online literary magazine Joyland. She currently divides her time between her native southwestern Ontario and New York City. The author lives in New York, New York.
PRAISE FOR THE BLONDES:
“Emily Schultz is my new hero.” —Stephen King
“The Blondes is intelligent, mesmerizing and fearless. An entirely original and beautifully twisted satire with a heart of darkness.” —Emily St. John Mandel, author of Station Eleven
“Reading The Blondes. . . . Wow!” —Margaret Atwood
“Like the literary love child of Naomi Wolf and Stephen King, The Blondes examines our cultural attitudes about beauty through the lens of a post-9/11, high-alert nightmare. The result is a spellbinding brew, both satirical and deeply satisfying.” —Helene Wecker, author of The Golem and the Jinni
“An energetic, startling novel. Emily Schultz is a writer with a deadly sense of humor. You laugh one moment, you’re frightened the next.” —Peter Orner, author of Last Car Over the Sagamore Bridge
“Sharp and fluid and legitimately disturbing. A thinking person’s apocalyptic nail-biter.” —Ben Loory, author of Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day
“At once weird and grounded, fizzily comic and satirically serious, The Blondes takes you by surprise and keeps on surprising.” —Andrew Pyper, author of The Demonologist
“[Schultz] creates a clever, idea-layered landscape of speculative fiction in which she can deposit a very real, complex, somewhat self-absorbed yet ultimately sympathetic character, one who just by looking, feeling and responding to events both extraordinary and banal, speaks to myriad perceptions of women both real and invented.” —National Post
“Schultz layers in astute observations about women’s relationships as well as loads of corrosively humorous commentary on social, sexual and cross-border politics.” —Toronto Star
“An engaging, satirical study of our beauty-obsessed society and the idea that looks really can kill.” —Chatelaine
“The novel is part metaphor for racism, part commentary on epidemic-related paranoia and part sly look at manufactured beauty. But within these lofty themes are fascinating characters in intriguing relationships. . . . Schultz nails the darkly comic tone and maintains her edge in a narrative that depicts desperate people who tend to be cruel, not warm and toasty, in the face of fear.” —NOW
“[A] smart new literary thriller. . . . A nail-biter that is equal parts suspense, science fiction and a funny, dark sendup of the stranglehold of gender.” “Kirkus Reviews (starred review)