"Matthew J. Trafford's first story collection, The Divinity Gene, skewers urban culture 'even as it conjures up the magic in the mundane'...The Divinity Gene is a real triumph of the short story form, a piece that takes chances that all pay off, combining psychological insight with daring technical effects." -- Toronto Star
"Matthew J. Trafford's debut collection, serves well to introduce readers to a restless writer who is eager to wrangle with -- to bend, to extend, to revamp -- a Canadian short story mainstay: realism of voice, subject and plot." -- Vancouver Sun
Recipient of the Honour of Distinction for the Dayne Ogilvie award, and long-listed for the Frank O'Connor Short Story Prize, the largest prize for a book of short stories worldwide, The Divinity Gene, is a beguiling and bizarre collection of stories from a remarkable new voice in Canadian fiction.
A mob of teens descends upon Paris in the thrall of a self-help author; a grotesque yard-sale statuette frees a dying man from his silence; the hottest club in town is staffed by angels. This is the uncanny world of The Divinity Gene, Matthew J. Trafford's debut story collection, and it bristles with humour, pathos and imaginative power.
Skewering urban culture even as it conjures up the magic in the mundane, the stories of The Divinity Gene map the frailty of the human heart. Caught in the crosshairs of faith and science, its characters -- bereaved, sidelined, cast adrift -- journey forth to the undiscovered places, in search of something to believe in, someone to love, always with disarming results. A passionately devout scientist clones Jesus Christ from the DNA contained in holy relics; a man makes a Faustian cyber deal with the devil for the sake of his family; bereaved parents sign on for an unorthodox government reparations project following a school tragedy.
Masterfully original, deeply human, The Divinity Gene introduces a bold and evocative new writer.
About the author
Matthew J. Trafford's fiction has appeared in The Malahat Review and Matrix and has been anthologized in I.V. Lounge Nights and Darwin's Bastards: Astounding Tales from Tomorrow. He has won the Far Horizons Award for Short Fiction and an honourable mention at the National Magazine Awards and has twice been shortlisted for the CBC Literary Prize. He lives in Toronto, where he works with deaf college students and performs long-form improv with his brother in their two-person troupe, The Bromos.
- Runner-up, Halloween Book Festival