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Fiction Literary

The City of Yes

by (author) Peter Oliva

McClelland & Stewart
Initial publish date
Oct 2001
Literary, Historical
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2001
    List Price

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Alive with history, myth, and wonder, The City of Yes is a luminous novel of parallel journeys through old and present-day Japan. In Saitama to teach English, the narrator is confronted by unlikely visions of home as he gradually enters the world of contemporary Japan, with its floating stories, enigmas, and contradictions. His own story is deftly interwoven with that of a real-life nineteenth-century Canadian adventurer, whose strange confinement in a Japanese prison, beginning in 1848, is so vividly imagined by the narrator. Full of delightful tales and eccentric characters, and written with the delicacy of a brushstroke artist, The City of Yes is suffused with warm humour, and with the intelligence and curiosity of a keen observer of life’s riches and eccentricities.

About the author

Peter Oliva‘s great-grandfather, grandfather and father were all coalminers in Alberta’s Crowsnest Pass. Oliva has worked in Italy, Taiwan, and Japan, teaching English and writing freelance articles for a variety of newspapers. His short stories have appeared in The Calgary Herald, Sunday Magazine, Vox, Alberta Rebound, and the Anthology of Alberta Writing. He lives in Calgary.

Peter Oliva's profile page

Editorial Reviews

The City of Yes is a glorious literary feast.”
–Paul Quarrington

The City of Yes is a Calvino-like intersection of art and reality, a portrait of life in which it is not the picture that is most important but the brush strokes.…Oliva has proven himself to be one of Canada’s finest literary authors.”
Quill & Quire

The City of Yes is a brilliant juggling act.”
Toronto Star

“Exquisite.…Oliva’s book is a tenderly funny hymn to the romance between two cultures.”
National Post

“[A] delightful, poignant, fully engaging story.”
Globe and Mail

“An enchanting novel.”
Ottawa Citizen
“A brilliant juggling act.…”
Toronto Star
“An absorbing voyage of discovery.…”
London Free Press
“A charming, deft and gently humorous novel.…The great beauty of this novel is its writing. Every sentence possesses polished elegance.…”
Literary Review of Canada
“A deftly written poetical narrative.…The City of Yes is a polished and inventive novel.”
“Brushstroke by brushstroke, Oliva builds up his evocative, unsettlingly comic, ambiguously straightforward stories.”
Canadian Forum
“The sense of the surreal is created equally by Oliva’s blending of myth and story and by his fine lyrical style.…”
Hamilton Spectator
“Oliva is such a good and persuasive writer – compassionate, funny, and gifted with an eye for arresting images – that The City of Yes …more than lives up to the bold affirmative of its title.”
–Bill Richardson, Georgia Straight
“Rewarding. . . . Funny and touching.…”
Edmonton Journal

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