Photo credits: Deborah Dundas
In Fall 2013, BookThug had the honour of published André’s novella A.
André Alexis has described his fictional terrain as “the shifting ground between the imagined life and the life that you live in from day to day.” There’s no better representation of this than the compelling narrative in A, where Alexander Baddeley, a Toronto book reviewer, is obsessed with the work of the elusive and mythical poet Avery Andrews.
Following in the footsteps of countless pilgrims throughout literary history, Baddeley tracks Andrews down, thinking that meeting his literary hero will provide some answers to his lifelong questions about creativity, art, and inspiration.
Though replete with mysticism and allusions to spirituality and the divine, Alexis’s writing in A manages to bring higher-level concepts down to the grassroots level, as the interactions between the two main characters results in a meditation and a revelation about the creative act itself that generates more and more questions about what it really means to be “inspired.”
In honour of André’s wins, here are the top 5 reasons to read A:
2. It’s about what it really means to be “inspired,” in particular with regard to the idea of “divine inspiration.” This in turn is inspiring because it is also the first book André wrote that contains his thinking behind his “Quincunx” series of five books that he is working on including Pastoral and Fifteen Dogs (both published by Coach House books).
4. At 88 pages, it’s short and sweet, but it’s as powerful as any of Alexis’ books. And it offers readers the occasional caricature of famous CanLit figures who are given cameos at festival parties, including André himself! There is also a pretty sly, yet entirely obvious rendering of the character of one David Gilmour (not the person, but the character that appears in his work, such as one of his stories called “The Pigeon,” which contains a rendering of André Alexis in the figure of René Goblin, created, apparently, so that Gilmour can slap him for reviewing one of his books badly).
5. It’s on sale at 30% off! Get it here and get started reading André’s amazing recent work today.
Watch the Book Launch Reading:
“A [is] a wondrous piece…. that deftly plays with the conventions of satire, polemic, and magic realism.” —Quill & Quire (starred review)
“[A is] a propulsive read, effortless and a little addictive… It is genuinely fascinating, a work whose rich complexities belie its brevity.” —The Winnipeg Review
A Full-On CanLit Feud: A rare delicious CanLit burn fight, David Gilmour vs. André Alexis is a snapshot of a flawed scene —Maclean’s
André Alexis was born in Trinidad and grew up in Canada. His debut novel, Childhood, won the Books in Canada First Novel Award, the Trillium Book Award, and was shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. His other previous books include Asylum, Ingrid & the Wolf, Pastoral (nominated for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize; a Globe and Mail Top 100 book of 2014), and Fifteen Dogs (winner of the 2015 Scotiabank Giller Prize and the 2015 Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize; finalist for the Toronto Book Awards). He was a contributing book reviewer for The Globe and Mail, and has worked extensively in radio, having been the host/writer of CBC Radio One’s “Radio Nomad” and CBC Radio 2’s “Skylarking.”