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, having the most ethical fun. Love was about being alone and making some decisions.
Pillow loves animals. Especially the exotic ones. Which is why he chooses the zoo for the drug runs he does as a low-level enforcer for a crime syndicate run by André Breton. He 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 neighbor, he wants to get out and go straight. But first there's the matter of some stolen coins, possibly in the possession of George Bataille, which leads Pillow on a bizarre caper that involves kidnapping a morphine-addled Antonin Artaud, some corrupt cops, a heavy dose of Surrealism, and a quest to see some giraffes.
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
"The author's use of metaphor and imagery is exquisite; he plays with surrealism with such a light step so as to appear effortless — as if it were an entirely common extension of hardboiled crime fiction. This debut is accomplished and highly entertaining." — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"A sturdy, traditional heist-and-double-cross plot anchors the various odd elements of this intriguing, funny, and effective debut." — National Post
"A fresh, incredibly smart take on literary crime." — The Globe and Mail