Calling to mind smart, deadpan and unrepentant novels such as The New Me and My Year of Rest and Relaxation, Sophie McCreesh's distinctive and arresting debut novel is about a young woman veering towards self-destruction.
Once More, With Feeling follows Jane, an artist navigating her closest relationships while fixating on her own perceived failures and self-imposed isolation. When Jane receives a student grant to attend a workshop in London, England, she sees the opportunity to leave her tedious life behind and start anew, bringing along her new friend Kitty, who Jane will not admit she has little in common with other than a shared appreciation for boxed wine and various other drugs.
In London, Jane struggles to improve both her craft and her mindset while Kitty thrives, and a once exciting trip abroad transforms the already uneven dynamic of their friendship, leaving Jane feeling more withdrawn than ever. As her increasingly destructive behaviour gets in the way of her artistic ambitions, her most important relationships--those with Kitty, her absent lover Richard and a discredited therapist named Anna--begin to deteriorate as Jane starts to examine her growing dependence on substances.
Darkly funny, piercing and tender, Once More, With Feeling is a portrait of a detached young woman trapped in the perils of self-loathing and addiction, who is searching for originality in an age of profound social disconnection and anxiety.
About the author
SOPHIE MCCREESH is a fiction writer living in Toronto. Her writing has appeared in Cosmonauts Avenue, Hobart, Bad Nudes and elsewhere.
"McCreesh has a wonderfully dark sense of humour and she perfectly captures the struggle of young adulthood, amped up through addiction. . . . A great character portrait and Jane truly becomes someone you can care about." —Winnipeg Free Press
Once More, With Feeling is an unflinching look into substance abuse, loneliness, vanity, and the follies of youth. . . . [It] pairs the ennui of literary realism with the hedonism of a rock memoir." —Jean Marc Ah-Sen, Maisonneuve
"Sophie McCreesh has written an understated and brilliant work that explores how for young women being ambitious can be terrifying and asking for what they need shameful. . . . Jane is a wondrous character whose terrible life choices are both fascinating and heartbreakingly tender. Although no one around her can seem to love her, the reader most certainly does." —Heather O'Neill, award-winning author of The Lonely Hearts Hotel
"Heart-breaking, funny and poignant, Once More, With Feeling is a beautifully subtle, unflinching balancing act of a novel. A striking and memorable accomplishment." —Iain Reid, award-winning author of I'm Thinking of Ending Things and Foe
"What a compelling debut—from the very first page, Sophie McCreesh's novel hits you with brutality, charm, terror and guts. Every chapter made me twist with anguish and then laugh out loud, a remarkable study of the utter agony that comes with being young and self-destructive. Once More, With Feeling is one of those books that makes you feel a little less alone in how deeply alone you actually feel, a perfect salve for our hyper-anxious and hyper-connected age." —Scaachi Koul, nationally bestselling author of One Day We'll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter
"Tragically funny, stark and brisk, Sophie McCreesh's brilliant debut about a young woman on the cusp perfectly captures that liminal period between youth and adulthood, being high and coming down, making stuff and becoming a real artist. She reminds me of a modern day Jane Bowles or Jean Rhys in her pitilessly honest depiction of what drinking does to and for the soul. Entrancing from start to finish." —Lisa Gabriele, nationally bestselling author of The Winters