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Fiction Feminist

What We Both Know

A Novel

by (author) Fawn Parker

McClelland & Stewart
Initial publish date
May 2022
Feminist, Psychological, Family Life
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    May 2022
    List Price

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2022 Scotiabank Giller Prize Longlist
For readers of My Dark Vanessa, a mesmerizing, disturbing, and thoroughly compelling novel about one woman’s role in preserving—or destroying—her famous father’s legacy.

In front of me are hundreds of pages of work. Already I feel it leaving me. He will obliterate what is there, replace it, deny I ever wrote a word. But, he cannot take the words I write on my own.

Hillary Greene’s father, once a celebrated author and public figure, is now losing his memory and, with it, his ability to write. As her father’s primary caretaker, each day begins with two eggs, boiled and Charlie Rose or some other host on the iPad screen. Her father compulsively watches himself in old interviews, memorizing his own speech, trying to hang on to who he was.

An aspiring author herself, Hillary impulsively agrees to ghost-write his final work—a memoir spanning his career—and release it in his name. Diving deep into her father’s past, and in turn her own, a horrifying truth begins to piece itself together.

With full control over her father’s memoir, Hillary is faced with a stark choice: reveal her father as a monster or preserve his legacy as a respected literary figure. But she wonders what writing the truth will do to her and if it will damage her own prospects for a career. Whichever option she chooses, Hillary has to deal with the significant pain writing the memoir has re-surfaced—specifically, how the truth about her father adds to her grief over the death of her enigmatic sister, Pauline. For the first time in her life, Hillary holds the power.

Set in the wake of the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements, What We Both Know is a visceral, intimate, and complex novel about confronting the personal and professional consequences—and potentially devastating fallout—of revealing the truth about a famous man.

About the author

Fawn Parker is a writer from Toronto currently based between Toronto and Montreal. She is the author of Looking Good and Having a Good Time (Metatron, 2015), Weak Spot (Anstruther, 2018), and Set-Point (ARP Books, 2019). Her story "Wunderhorse II" was the recipient of the Irving Layton Award for Fiction in 2017. A graduate of Concordia University's BA in English & Creative Writing, Fawn is a current MA candidate at the University of Toronto in the field of Creative Writing. She is co-founder of BAD NUDES Magazine and publisher at BAD Books.

Fawn Parker's profile page

Editorial Reviews

Praise for What We Both Know and Fawn Parker

“Writing out Baby’s storied life (Parker features a few chapters of the memoir-in-the-making) and summoning hazy, distressing memories of the past, Hillary captivates as an individual with a poignant vulnerability and a sure capability that’s eroded by self-doubt and an overwhelming past. She’s Parker’s terrific invention, of course, and her agonies—as well as her wit and her wild missteps — offer testimony to Toronto’s Parker (author, previously, of Dumb-Show), whose stylish and expressive writing anatomizes complex familial relationships and the sheer difficulty of finding correct courses of action.” —Toronto Star
“A master of indirection, Parker wants to demonstrate how language expresses trauma, but also the ways words are used to avoid or disguise pain. Parker is a poet, and her precision of language yields visceral, difficult insights.” —Winnipeg Free Press

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