David Homel's eighth novel is an exquisitely written, brutally honest, brave work from a two-time Governor General Award winner at the peak of his powers.
Phil Brenner has fallen into a slump. All of his life's achievements have somehow crept into disarray. As a freelance journalist, his career pinnacles keep receding in the rearview, as he struggles to stay relevant in a culture that prizes identity over experience. He feels unfairly cast aside by younger generations, designated the very "white male of privilege" he spent much of his youth rallying against. As a husband, he's estranged from his wife, whose job supports the suburban lifestyle he never wanted. As a father, his two daughters repel any attempt he makes to connect.
But when a chance arises to cover the refugee crisis in Eastern Europe, Phil seizes the opportunity to reinvent himself into the person he could be, if only he can bring himself to tear down the tired notions of who he has become.
About the author
David Homel was born in Chicago in 1952 and left that city in 1970 for Paris, living in Europe the next few years on odd jobs and odder couches. He has published eight novels, from Electrical Storms in 1988 to The Teardown, which won the Paragraph Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction in 2019. He has also written young adult fiction with Marie-Louise Gay, directed documentary films, worked in TV production, been a literary translator, journalist, and creative writing teacher. He has translated four books for Linda Leith Publishing: Bitter Roase (2015), (2016), Nan Goldin: The Warrior Medusa (2017) and Taximan (2018). Lunging into the Underbrush is his first book of non-fiction. He lives in Montreal.