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Fiction Literary

The Family Code

by (author) Wayne Ng

Guernica Editions
Initial publish date
Jun 2023
Literary, Family Life, Crime
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jun 2023
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Jun 2023
    List Price

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Every family has rituals and routines holding them together. But sometimes they are the very things that tear them apart. The Family Code is a gritty family drama featuring the troubled life of Hannah Belenko, a young single mother dogged by the brutality of past traumas and a code of silence that she must crack in order to be free—or else lose everything.

Hannah was raised by this code and rules her own family by it. When she loses her daughter to the state and her boyfriend threatens her, she flees from Ottawa to Halifax with her remaining son, six-year-old Axel. While she bulldozes her way through everything and schemes to protect him, Axel flounders in the chaos. He begins to doubt his mother and her dream of a way out. With her life crashing down, Hannah is driven by desperation to survive yet hangs on to elusive hope.


With unvarnished and high-voltage prose, The Family Code unabashedly reveals the power and perils of parenting, but also the longing and vulnerability of children.

About the author

Editorial Reviews

The Family Code is a gritty and unflinching look at the devastating effects of intergenerational trauma. Wayne Ng has created vulnerable, damaged, and compelling characters that will resonate with me for a long time. Heartbreaking but also hopeful, this book put me through the wringer.

Bianca Marais, author of The Witches of Moonshyne Manor

Hannah and Axel’s story will break your heart. But it also stands as a timeless and stunningly textured testament to hope, redemption, and love. A must-read!

Hollay Ghadery, author of Fuse

With the immediacy of a bruised throat, Wayne Ng’s compelling new novel The Family Code confronts us with an unsympathetic character with whom we sympathize, the baffled son she struggles to care for, and the tenacity of their hope in seemingly hopeless circumstances.

K.R. Wilson, author of Call Me Stan

Building on his years of social work, Ng has written a searing portrait of a family in crisis drowning in the complexities of love and unresolved pain.

Amy Tector, author of Speak for the Dead

Ng's storytelling is a master class in authenticity. From poverty and violence to addiction and strained relationships, the novel unflinchingly explores the depths of human struggle. And the author's profound psychological insights and heartfelt portrayal of the characters' troubled lives create an intense and unforgettable reading experience.

Ottawa Review of Books

Ng’s characterization is beautiful and utterly convincing. He writes with the perfect balance of grit and beauty, compassion and stark reality, always aware of his character’s motivations.

Danila Botha, author of Things that Cause Inappropriate Happiness, and For All the Men

An unexpectedly riveting, important read that I could not put down. Highly recommended.

Mardi Michels, Eat Live Travel Write

Intricate plotting and sizzling dialogue show an imaginative master at work, narrating in dual points of view with authentic voices, sharp wit and deep sympathy.

Josip Novakovich, author of Rubble of Rubles and Man Booker Finalist

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