Long-listed for the 2011 ReLit Awards
Andrew Christiansen, a war photographer turned cabdriver, is having a bad year. His mother has just died; his father, on the verge of a nervous breakdown, gets arrested; and he’s married to a woman he doesn’t love. To make matters worse, Sarah, the gifted actress from his past, storms back into his life, bringing with her a hurricane of changes and the possibility of happiness.
Keeping Andrew sane is his beloved camera through which he captures the many Torontonians who ride in his taxi. Also keeping Andrew rational is his friendship with Zakhariye, a Somali-born magazine editor grieving the death of a son. Through Zakhariye we glimpse a world beyond Toronto, a world where civil wars rage and stark poverty delivers everyday sorrow and anguish.
Something Remains probes the various ways humans grieve when the lives they build for themselves fall apart. It speaks of the joy we find in what remains and the hope that comes with life putting itself back together in ways we never imagined.
Hassan Ghedi Santur was born in Somalia and immigrated to Canada when he was 14 just before the outbreak of civil war in his country. He eventually earned a B.A. in English literature and an M.F.A. in screenwriting at York University. Santur works as a freelance radio producer for CBC. He lives in Toronto
Something Remains was a pleasure to read. Hassan Ghedi Santur writes with intelligence and sympathy about a wide range of subjects: grief, love, sex, the endless complexities involved in human relationships. As the narrative weaves throughout the lives of an actress, an editor, a cabdriver, multicultural Toronto is brought to life with a global and extremely contemporary perspective. This is an ambitious, wise and, at times, very funny book by a young novelist definitely worth keeping an eye on. -- Jules Lewis, author of Waiting for Ricky Tantrum (Dundurn Press, 2010)
"It amazes me how the author, Hassan Ghedi Santur, can see into the souls of such a diverse group of characters; a photojournalist, his father, an actress, a Somali-born editor and the range of other people who effect and interconnect with their lives, and bring them vividly alive in my imagination. The profound insight he brings to his characters as they navigate through the streets of Toronto in search of something to fill the void, as they find that spark of hope that helps them to go on after their worlds have been destroyed by loss. A remarkable journey into the sorrow that life brings to find that something does remains after all. Something Remains struck me to my very core. So beautifully told." -- Denyse Karn, Associate Artistic Producer, Nightwood Theatre & Co-Artistic Producer, In Good Company Theatre
"Santur attempts to preserve our city's almost tribal vitality by telling the multiple stories of people intersecting within it, which is to say by using character as the literary form of neighbourhood."
"There is irresistible heart in this novel, an ambitious determination to encompass the complexity of the world in the lives of a handful of ordinarily flawed and striving people."
"Thought-provoking and worthy of a read."