It’s summer 2017 in Vancouver, BC, where economic imperatives are making space less and less accessible to low-income residents. The rental crisis is intensifying, ravenous real-estate development is thriving and there is a province-wide forest fire emergency blanketing the city in smoke.
Notice is the Kafkaesque story of a man under threat of renoviction, caught in the gears of bureaucracy in a city where economic inequality runs rampant; displacement and petty frustration abound. Dustin Cole writes with a documentarian sensibility from the unique perspective of Dylan Levett—a cynical dishwasher from Alberta whose greatest fantasy is a post-car world. With the spotlight turned to the down-and-out and the working-class, Notice seemingly holds a funhouse mirror up to the city of Vancouver—but the image reflected there might be as real as it gets.
Dustin Cole writes with clarity and passion, precision and accuracy. I see all the same qualities in Notice, which says more about Vancouver in the last decade than a thousand desperate pages of the “accommodation wanted” and “free stuff” sections on Craigslist.
Notice is a bad-to-worse, spiral-down story about an ornery man caught between the gears of gentrification and renoviction—a novel whose brutal gaze is repeatedly crossed by mice and rebar. It peels up the rug that is Vancouver to see what’s been swept beneath, and follows a character who’s trying to save himself from that same broom.