Play by Jess Taylor

Play by Jess Taylor

Literary Fiction / Psychological Fiction
Publication Date: April 23, 2024
5.25 x 8 inches
354 pages
Trade Paperback
ISBN 9781771668798

Trade Paperback
(In stock)
(In stock)
SKU: N/A Categories: , , ,

You will talk about 2016. 
You will talk about The Lighted City. 
You will be brave and truthful. 
You will get to the bottom of what happened.

Paul (Paulina) Hayes loves her cousin Adrian. Inseparable from a young age, they play The Lighted City, an imaginary world where they pretend to live together and can escape a childhood that seems both too sad and too grown-up. But The Lighted City isn’t without danger.

Years later, Paul is struggling with PTSD after a season of turmoil—one in which Adrian is dead, and radio and television are filled with reports of missing children. Just as stability is settling into her life and relationships, Paul is dragged back into the fate that Adrian seems to have scripted for them. And so she finds herself journeying across the country, down into a ravine, and back to The Lighted City, where so much of her childhood played out. Only by doing so can she begin to come to terms with “the day everything happened”—and what has unfolded since then.

With a unique blend of contemporary storytelling and psychological fiction, Play is a haunting, riveting novel that reminds us of both the beauty and danger of imagination.

Praise for Play

“Jess Taylor’s Play is at once haunted and haunting, a frightening and ultimately compassionate story of the painful and winding path one person takes in the lurch toward healing. It’s a novel full of light and heart even in its darkest moments: a beautiful, compelling debut.” —Liz Harmer, author of Strange Loops

“In Play, Jess Taylor has created a uniquely gentle sort of dread, weaving a story that is compelling and compassionate, and burning with profoundly moving insight about trauma, the power of art, and our deep need for connection.” —Jessica Westhead, author of Avalanche

Press Coverage:

Most Anticipated: Our 2024 Spring Fiction Preview —49th Shelf

52 Works of Canadian Fiction Coming Out in Spring 2024 —CBC Books

What We’re Reading: Staff Writers’ Picks, Spring 2024 —Hamilton Review of Books

Spring preview: 21 books to put at the top of your reading list —Toronto Star

“In the novel Play, the intricacies of a woman’s childhood dreams cause her pain in adulthood, forcing her to address the remnants of her youth.” —Danica Morris, Foreword Reviews

10 Books Where the Imaginary Threatens the Real: A recommended reading list by the author of the new novel Play49th Shelf

“This haunting, disturbing story is one that will linger in your heart and your mind for a long time. This novel reveals the struggles of those who have suffered multiple traumas but also shows that there is always hope… Play will show you the darkness but also the light.” —Laura Patterson, The Miramichi Reader

Jess Taylor Confronts and Then Says Goodbye to the Past in her Compelling Debut Novel —Open Book

12 or 20 questions with Jess Taylor —rob mclennan’s blog

Excerpted: Play by Jess Taylor —All Lit Up


About the Author

Jess Taylor is a Tkaronto (Toronto) writer and poet. She is the author of Pauls, the title story of which won the 2013 Gold Fiction National Magazine Award, and Just Pervs, a finalist for the 2020 Lambda Literary Award in Bisexual Fiction. Her story “Two Sex Addicts Fall in Love” was longlisted for the 2018 Journey Prize. Play is her debut novel.