Joe Denham's debut novel The Year of Broken Glass follows struggling crab fisherman Francis "Ferris" Wichbaun's journey across the Pacific Ocean to deliver a legendary glass fishing float to an enigmatic, high-paying collector. Against a backdrop of worldwide seismic devastation, Ferris is forced to confront increasing concern for his two families--his wife Anna and their son Willow, and his girlfriend Jin Su and their baby daughter Emily--as well as pervasive feelings of disappointment and disillusionment. In the midst of his contemplation, he becomes entangled in both a romantic affair with his travelling companion and an ancient legend that seems to offer the possibility of redemption.
Denham's poetic background is evident in the novel's entrancing imagery and thematic complexity, yet in his transition to prose he has also succeeded in crafting a unique, unpredictable plot and intriguing, sincerely rendered characters. Haunted by environmental degradation and human suffering, Denham affixes the carefree Wedding Guest in all of us with his glittering prose and weaves a story that is both sobering and compelling.
About the author
Joe Denham is the author of Flux (Nightwood Editions, 2003), Windstorm (Nightwood Editions, 2009), and The Year of Broken Glass (Nightwood Editions, 2011) His most recent poetry collection, Regeneration Machine (Nightwood Editions, 2015) was the winner of the Canadian Authors Association Award for Poetry. His work has appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies including Breathing Fire 2: Canada's New Poets (Nightwood Editions, 2004). He is currently at work on a sequel to Windstorm, and is preparing to release his first album of songs, Lost at Sea, in the spring of 2017. He lives with his wife and two children in Halfmoon Bay, BC.
The pervasive metaphoric layers in The Year of Broken Glass bolster the story and character development without tipping into the overwhelming or feeling forced. Denham has created unforgettable, strongly sculpted characters and a cinematic sweep of dramatic circumstance and plot that will stick with the reader for a long time.
With The Year of Broken Glass and its fisherman hero Ferris Wishbone, Joe Denham has created a passionate, deeply knowledgeable and wholly unique literary work--Raymond Carver sails away to meet H.P. Lovecraft. Delving with authority into the bullet-ridden, the near-divine and the shortcomings of the heart, this is a flat-out terrific book.
--Adam Lewis Schroeder, author of In the Fabled East, nominee for Commonwealth Writers' Prize
In his confident and relentlessly surprising first novel, Joe Denham creates a stirring story of love, loss and longing. The Year of Broken Glass is as startlingly original as the legendary fishing float that captivates its characters, and is as permeated with fragile beauty as the coastal and oceanic worlds it both celebrates and mourns.
--Angie Abdou, author of The Bone Cage and The Canterbury Trail