Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Fiction Literary


A Novel

by (author) Alain Farah

translated by Lazer Lederhendler

House of Anansi Press Inc
Initial publish date
Jan 2015
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jan 2015
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Jan 2015
    List Price

Add it to your shelf

Where to buy it


The writer Alain Farah is living in two time periods, and he feels out of place in both. At the opening of his story, we find ourselves at McGill in 1962 and 2012. But the real problem lies elsewhere: on campus, a psychiatrist is conducting dangerous and unethical experiments on his patients. The writer’s uncle, Nab Safi, knows something about it, but soon he won’t be around to tell his story.

And so begins an investigation in which time, place, memory, and people collide. A mother in the Lebanese ghetto bets her son in a game of dice to settle her debts. Dinosaurs are resurrected. An odd gun will be used to determine the outcome for those who truly believe. A torn old photo and a gothic swimming pool lead to the disturbing depths of Ravenscrag, a mournful manor with 36 chambers…

Ravenscrag is an intriguing and truly original blend of retro science fiction and autobiography. It’s about resilience, literature as remedy, and ultimately, it’s a novel about survival through storytelling.

About the authors

Alain Farah was born in Montreal in 1979 to Egyptian-Lebanese parents. In 2004, he published a book of poems, Quelque chose se détache du port, which shortlised for the Prix Émile-Nelligan. In 2005, he set up temporary residence in France to pursue his PhD studies at the École Normale Supérieure. After returning to Quebec in 2008, he published his first novel, Matamore no 29. He is assistant professor at McGill University, where he teaches contemporary French literature.

Alain Farah's profile page

Lazer Lederhendler is a full-time freelance translator specializing in contemporary Québécois fiction and nonfiction. His work has earned him many distinctions in Canada and abroad, including multiple nominations for the Governor General’s Literary Award, which he won in 2008 for the translation of Nikolski by Nicolas Dickner. He is also the translator of Gaétan Soucy’s novel, The Immaculate Conception, which was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Governor General’s Literary Award for French to English translation, and the winner of the Cole Foundation Prize for Translation awarded by the Quebec Writers’ Federation. Lazer Lederhendler lives in Montreal. 

Lazer Lederhendler's profile page


  • Long-listed, 2016 Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic

Editorial Reviews

… this is a novel that’s out there on its own. You really should read it.

Montreal Gazette

Alain Farah’s intriguing novel works not despite its complexities, but because of them.

Quill & Quire

[T]hrilling… Ravenscrag gives over with wild abandon to imagination and paranoia as defining traits.

The Mookse and the Gripes

This swift, Montreal-set fiction splices genres and historical eras with such nerve that it rolled onto best-of-the-year lists everywhere from the Governor General’s Awards to La Presse and Le Devoir when it appeared in its original French in 2013.

The Georgia Straight

…a page-turner to the very end.

Publishers Weekly

[A] perfectly bizarre novel…I want to read it again.

Magnificent Octopus blog

a useful snapshot of a current of literature being published in Québec at the moment

Quebec Reads

True to its own vision, [Ravenscrag takes] some pleasure in pushing boundaries

Maclean’s Magazine

Other titles by Lazer Lederhendler

Related lists