In this wild, stylish, wickedly funny debut, Shilo Jones charts the journey of three players caught in a high-stakes property development--a dangerous and depraved game that plays out behind the veneer of everyday city life.
Jasminder is determined. Carl is blitzed. Mark is righteous.
Unfortunately, they've pitted themselves against one another and they're throwing everything they have at the same condo development in North Vancouver. The Solstice deal promises what they want most for themselves--freedom, respect, status, wealth--and it is their chance to be truly "on the up."
Over the course of a week, the trio vie for their piece. But there are complex personal obstacles standing in the way for each. Jasminder Bansal, an aspiring journalist with a powerful ambition and a family connection to gangland violence, is playing a dangerous game to get the information she needs from a slick property lawyer with links to an international criminal boss. Carl "Blitzo" Reed, co-founder of an ecological investment firm, has a wildly distorted sense of reality and a morally questionable connection to the property. Mark Ward, a veteran of the Afghanistan War with a strong conscience, is barely coping with the effects of PTSD, but he's forced to call on the skills he has learned as a soldier in order to repay a debt to his criminal brother, Clint. Jasminder, Blitzo, and Mark use anything at their disposal to pursue their goals, and no one is left untouched: speculators, government officials, realtors, activists, builders, day-labourers, investors, lawyers--not even a potbellied pig.
On the Up introduces Shilo Jones as a writer with a singular voice. Here he gives us a raucous, biting satire, packed with bleak humour, outrageous characters, and pathos, that shows us what can happen when greed, desperation, will, loyalty, and an insatiable desire for status collide.
SHILO JONES has worked as a tree planter, a stonemason, an English instructor, and most recently, a stay-at-home father. He holds a BFA in Visual Art from Simon Fraser University and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia. He lives in Kelowna, BC.
Praise for Shilo Jones’s On the Up:
“Like Elmore Leonard in yoga pants, Shilo Jones is the new black-hearted bard of Vancouver's get-rich-quick soul. Told in prose that is jazzy, foulmouthed, delirious, and poetic, On the Up manages to skewer the city's deranged real estate frenzy, its soulless greenwashing, and its vapid tech utopianism—all in the same breath. To read this novel is to witness the arrival of a writer of lacerating perception and insight. On the Up may not be the book that Vancouver wants, but it's certainly the book that Vancouver deserves.” —Michael Christie, author of If I Fall, If I Die
“I've never read a better novel about contemporary Vancouver. On the Up is a brilliantly self-assured debut.” —Annabel Lyon, author of The Sweet Girl
“Buckle up for On the Up. Shilo Jones takes readers on a blistering literary joyride through the frenzied, darkened heart of Vancouver’s real estate development culture. Leverage and lunacy in Lotusland. Venality and violence in YVR. Jones crafts a mesmerizing tale that needed telling.” —Timothy Taylor, author of The Rule of Stephens
“Jones' jagged prose mirrors his desperate characters, rattling off one another in a high stakes game of snakes and ladders. On the Up splatters the underbelly of a city across your floor-to-ceiling windows and then lets the light shine through.” —Andrew F. Sullivan, author of WASTE
“Jones presents a nuanced picture of the criminal milieu, complete with insomnia, paranoia, grief, and hopelessness. His exploration of hyper-masculinity is equally precise and humane.” —Quill and Quire