Shortlisted for the Writers' Trust of Canada Fiction Prize
One of The Globe and Mail's Globe 100: Best Books of 2014
There were plans for an official welcome. It was to take place the following Sunday. But those who came to the rectory on Father Pennant's second day were the ones who could not resist seeing him sooner. Here was the man to whomthey would confess the darkest things. It was important to feel him out. Mrs. Young, for instance, after she had watched him eat a piece of her macaroni pie, quietly asked what he thought of adultery.
André Alexis brings a modern sensibility and a new liveliness to an age-old genre, the pastoral.
For his very first parish, Father Christopher Pennant is sent to the sleepy town of Barrow. With more sheep than people, it is sleepily bucolic – toomuch Barrow Brew on Barrow Day is the rowdiest it gets. But things aren't so idyllic for Liz Denny, whose fiancé doesn't want to choose between Liz and his more worldly lover Jane, or for Father Pennant himself, whose faith is profoundly shaken by the miracles he witnesses – a mayor walking on water, intelligent gypsy moths and a talking sheep.
Praise for Pastoral:
'This novel’s pleasures indeed include a rich sense of place, but thatsense comes without sentimentality, and that place is something one might just as easily flee from as call home. Pastoral beauty is certainly on offer, but Alexis’ fluid, evocative descriptions of the rural wonders that surround Barrow are much more than nostalgia for a childhood idyll or mere reverie for revere’s sake — they constitute the very heart of Pastoral’s unresolved/unresolvable crisis of faith.'
– National Post
'It’s been clear since his debut novel, Childhood, that Alexis is one of our most distinctive and exacting prose stylists, and at its highest pitch, as in the breathtaking final paragraph, these are sentences that attain the level of the best music.'
– Montreal Gazette
André Alexis was born in Trinidad and grew up in Canada. His most recent novel, Fifteen Dogs, won the 2015 Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize. His debut novel, Childhood, won the Books in Canada First Novel Award, the Trillium Book Award, and was shortlisted for the Giller Prize and the Writers' Trust Fiction Prize. His other books include Pastoral (nominated for the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize), Asylum, Beauty and Sadness, Ingrid & the Wolf, Despair and Other Stories of Ottawa and Lambton, Kent and Other Vistas: A Play.