Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Fiction General

Vanishing Monuments

by (author) John Elizabeth Stintzi

Publisher
Arsenal Pulp Press
Initial publish date
Mar 2020
Category
General, Literary
  • Paperback / softback

    ISBN
    9781551528014
    Publish Date
    Mar 2020
    List Price
    $19.95
  • Downloadable audio file

    ISBN
    9781773058757
    Publish Date
    Nov 2021
    List Price
    $32.99

Add it to your shelf

Where to buy it

Description

Amazon Canada First Novel Award finalist

A brilliant novel whose lead character returns home to their long-estranged mother who is now suffering from dementia.

Alani Baum, a non-binary photographer and teacher, hasn't seen their mother since they ran away with their girlfriend when they were seventeen - almost thirty years ago. But when Alani gets a call from a doctor at the assisted living facility where their mother has been for the last five years, they learn that their mother's dementia has worsened and appears to have taken away her ability to speak. As a result, Alani suddenly find themselves running away again - only this time, they're running back to their mother.

Staying at their mother's empty home, Alani attempts to tie up the loose ends of their mother's life while grappling with the painful memories that - in the face of their mother's disease - they're terrified to lose. Meanwhile, the memories inhabiting the house slowly grow animate, and the longer Alani is there, the longer they're forced to confront the fact that any closure they hope to get from this homecoming will have to be manufactured.

This beautiful, tenderly written debut novel by Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers winner John Elizabeth Stintzi explores what haunts us most, bearing witness to grief over not only what is lost, but also what remains.

About the author

JOHN ELIZABETH STINTZI is a non-binary writer who was raised on a cattle farm in northwestern Ontario. They are the author of two previous chapbooks of poetry, and their poems have been awarded the 2019 RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers and the Long Poem Prize from the Malahat Review. Their poetry and fiction has appeared (or is forthcoming) in venues throughout the United States and Canada including the Fiddlehead, the Kenyon Review, and Ploughshares. They currently live in Kansas City with their partner and their dog Grendel.

John Elizabeth Stintzi's profile page

Awards

  • Short-listed, Amazon First Novel Award

Editorial Reviews

The real pleasure of reading John Elizabeth Stintzi's book is to see a sensitive mind work through an internal landscape, and to watch them do it with such patience and generosity. -Sara Majka, author of Cities I've Never Lived In

An enchanting story with a truly compelling protagonist, Stintzi has marked themself as a writer to watch. -Seattle Times

A melancholic and complicated story about grief, memory and identity, the novel is a beautiful and compulsive read. -Xtra

Stintzi deploys an impressive erudition in developing their debut novel ... elegantly constructed ... Highly recommended. -Vancouver Sun

A surreal, poetic meditation on the struggle to feel at home with the past, family, and one's own body. -Kirkus Reviews

Vanishing Monuments is a luminously written novel from an exciting writer, a welcome story of a midlife queer that many of us crave. -Literary Hub

Vanishing Monuments is a beautiful portrait of disassociation at once between countries, family, gender, identities, and, most importantly, "the distance between ... you and yourself." Stintzi braids the Metamorphoses together with the expansiveness of Winnipeg, those rolling prairies, all wondrously and ravenously superimposed together to form a work that is wet with memory. With a keen eye for image and an attuned ear for the whistling screams of Manitoba, we move slowly but steadily through the memory palace that is a childhood home abandoned - here, memory serves to animate said house with a beckoning siren call that asks us to conceptualize the art of staying affectively with a mother whittling away from dementia and a narrator storytelling from a double exposed aperture. An absolute monumental achievement of a first novel. -Joshua Whitehead, author of Jonny Appleseed

A camera "takes time and holds it still," says the narrator's mother, and reading Vanishing Monuments is like sifting through a darkroom and watching scenes emerge and accrue into an assemblage of life. Memory haunts this novel, at once elusive and inescapable. Like the narrative itself, it loops, layers, seizes, erodes. And John Elizabeth Stintzi conjures it all with a gorgeously queer, off-kilter grace. -Chelsey Johnson, author of Stray City

Vanishing Monuments is a remarkable novel, a beautiful puzzle of place and belonging, identity and vocation, duty and love. John Elizabeth Stintzi's writing is full of welcome and true surprise - I found myself underlining passages on every page, and then going back to underline more. -John K. Samson, musician and poet

Vanishing Monuments presents a compelling and suspended kind of portrait, a space in which multiplicity of truth can coexist, can even contradict, and still be, at its core, the truth. -The New Territory

Other titles by John Elizabeth Stintzi

Related lists