The Legend of Baraffo by Moez Surani

The Legend of Baraffo by Moez Surani


Literary Fiction
Publication Date: September 26, 2023
5.25 x 8 inches
280 pages
Trade Paperback
ISBN 9781771668415

Trade Paperback
SKU: N/A Categories: , , ,

A mythic work of sweeping literary imagination, The Legend of Baraffo speaks to our current social climate and the ingredients for progress.

In Baraffo, a town gripped by revolutionary fervour, a young boy is grappling with the motivations of an arsonist now imprisoned. Why, Mazzu asks, did Babello burn an empty building? Is the mayor, the chief aide, Giulietta—who the boy adores—the prisoner’s supporters, or Babello himself to be believed?

When Mazzu decides for himself, and helps Babello to escape in a mesmerizing spectacle, it ignites in the townspeople a desire for more upheaval, and they push for revolution. Years later, now mayor himself, Mazzu toils to quell the roiling instability that Babello unleashed, failing to do so through politics, but succeeding through art and the enchantment of exalted love.

Within an extraordinary world, this coming-of-age story—of a boy and a town—asks prescient questions about the nature of social change: is it better accelerated by those who seek total transformation, or attained by those trying to work within the system?

Praise for The Legend of Baraffo:

The Legend of Baraffo is a lucid dream of a novel, a fable fierce in its moral clarity and gorgeous at the line level. In the town of Baraffo, Moez Surani has created a place so rich in sensory detail, so wonderfully alive, as to be unforgettable. There is so much here about the nuances of longing and belonging, of intimacy and subjugation, all of it crafted from the simplest human connections—a conversation, a shared meal, a card game. This is a beautiful book, written by a bright new literary talent.” —Omar El Akkad, Scotiabank Giller Prize–winning author of What Strange Paradise

“Seamlessly pivoting from fairy tale to one of caution, Surani’s novel is a sly exploration of power and all that’s crushed to maintain it. His language is hypnotic and lush from beginning to end.” —Monique Truong, author of The Sweetest Fruits

“Moez Surani’s The Legend of Baraffo is about revolution and love, political will and will not, hunger striking, friendship, and tender romance. It’s about imprisonment, charisma and wit, wordplay and poetry, and the unrelenting search for what is just. Babello, a political prisoner, and Mazzu, an orphan training to be Mayor, are as vivid as any two characters you are ever going to meet. They are indelible and deep and burn bright. This novel is like a lamp underground—it’s absolutely brilliant.” —Lisa Moore, author of This Is How We Love

Press Coverage:

24 Books by Past CBC Poetry Prize Winners and Finalists Being Published in 2023 —CBC Books


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About the Author

Moez Surani’s writing has been published internationally, including in Harper’s MagazineBest American Experimental Writing 2016Best Canadian Poetry, and the Globe and Mail. He has received a Chalmers Arts Fellowship, which supported research in India and East Africa. He has been an artist-in-residence in Finland, Italy, Latvia, Myanmar, Switzerland, Taiwan, the Banff Centre for the Arts in Canada, and at MacDowell in the United States. He is the author of four poetry books: Reticent Bodies (2009), Floating Life (2012), Operations (2016), and Are the Rivers in Your Poems Real (2019). Surani lives in Toronto.