LONGLISTED FOR THE 2016 SCOTIABANK GILLER PRIZE
SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2016 KOBO EMERGING WRITER PRIZE
Most of the things Pillow really liked to do were obviously morally wrong. He wasn't an idiot; clearly it was wrong to punch people in the face for money. But there had been an art to it, and it had been thrilling and thoughtful for him. The zoo was also evil, a jail for animals who’d committed no crimes, but he just loved it. The way Pillow figured it, love wasn’t about goodness, it wasn’t about being right, loving the very best person, or having the most ethical fun. Love was about being alone and making some decisions.
Pillow loves animals. Especially giraffes. That’s why he chooses the zoo for the drug drop-offs he does as a low-level enforcer for the mob. Which happens to be run by André Breton and the Surrealists, like Gwynn Apollinaire, Louise Aragon and Georges Bataille.
A gentle soul, Pillow doesn’t love his life of crime. But he isn’t cut out for much else, what with all the punches to the head he took as a professional boxer. And now that he’s accidentally but sort of happily knocked up his neighbour, Emily, he wants to get out and go straight. So when an antique-coin heist goes awry, Pillow sees his chance to make one last big score. But it’s hard to outwit a Surrealist, especially when you can’t always think so clearly. He soon finds himself kneedeep in murder and morphine, kidnapping a pseudo-priest and doing some fancy footwork around a pair of corrupt cops.
With a dark wink of the teeth and a wet fish to the heart, Pillow is literary crime fiction that punches above its weight.
'Wildly effervescent. The dialogue, the pacing, the plot: it sizzles, it sparkles. Pillow is a hilarious, humane, fearsomely original novel by a young novelist – this Andrew Battershill; this wet-behind-the-ears rookie! – who writes with such skill and daring that you'd think this was his tenth book rather than his debut.'
– Craig Davidson, author of Rust and Bone and Cataract City
Andrew Battershill is a writer and teacher currently living in Columbus, Ohio. A graduate of the University of Toronto's MA in English in the Field of Creative Writing, he was the Fiction Editor and co-founder of Dragnet Magazine. Pillow is his first novel.
Wildly effervescent. The dialogue, the pacing, the plot: it sizzles, it sparkles. Pillow is a hilarious, humane, fearsomely original novel by a young novelist - this Andrew Battershill; this wet-behind-the-ears rookie! - who writes with such skill and daring that you'd think this was his tenth book rather than his debut.' -Craig Davidson, author of Rust and Bone and Cataract City
'A darkly humorous novel about a boxer with some fight in him.'
'Battershill writes [the character Pillow] as a man who sticks to his strange moralities, which makes him a simultaneously confusing and compelling character.' - The Puritan
'A sturdy, traditional heist-and-double-cross plot anchors the various odd elements of this intriguing, funny, and effective debut.' - The National Post