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 has translated over 30 books, many by Quebec authors. He won the Governor General's Literary Award in translation in 1995 for Why Must a Black Writer Write About Sex? by Dany Laferrière; his translation of Laferrière's How to Make Love to a Negro was nominated in 1988; and he won the prize in 2001 with fellow translator Fred A. Reed for Fairy Wing. His novels, which include Sonya & Jack, Electrical Storms, and The Speaking Cure have been published in several languages. Homel lives in Montreal, Quebec.