An engrossing punk-rock novel about teenage daydreams and sibling dynamics
Teenage brothers Hombre and Transformer spend their days locked up in their suburban Montreal bedroom, writing songs and dreaming of stardom. Hombre, the younger one, is quiet, contemplative, and talented, a poet in the making. His older brother Transformer is stubborn, domineering, and secretly struggling with mental health issues. Their sequestered world is broken open one summer when their mother hires Spit, a girl from the local guitar shop, to help the boys improve their modest skills. But these good intentions set off a chain reaction with tragic consequences.
Set in the early 80s, in a local music scene brimming with post-punk ethos and a disdain for classic rock, Because is a wry and charming depiction of a sibling relationship founded on feverish angst, unspoken admiration, jealousy, and the pursuit of the greatest song they can write from their own room.
When Paul is hired to write a monograph of the Montreal photographer John Marchuk, he assumes he’ll be able to turn over the eccentric project in a matter of weeks. Little does he know that over the next few months his visits with Marchuk, in a house stuffed with boxes stacked floor to ceiling with his life’s archive, will expose an emptiness in his own home.
In A House Without Spirits, Homel delivers some of his most memorable characters to date—reclusive artists, disaffected life partners, wandering ghosts, cult-affiliated nuns—in a contemporary Montreal noir that reveals how much we learn about ourselves when we begin to ask questions of others.
An unflinching allegorical novel that explores trauma, women’s rights, and religious tradition.
In the slums of Tehran, seven-year-old Sara witnesses the horrific murder of her sister Setayesh, an event leaves her in shock and unable to speak. As the neighbourhood frantically searches for the missing girl, Sara is locked inside herself, unable to tell her parents or police all she knows.
Over time, the mute Sara develops a strange allergic reaction, in which hair covers her face every time a man approaches her. One day in school, when an imam gets too close, she faints. After Sara reawakens, classmates show her video of her speaking freely and eloquently while unconscious… in Polish. These are only the first of many unexpected developments in Sara’s life, as she grapples with how to live with her sister’s memory in a world that abuses women from a very early age.
Prophetess is a fearless novel of gripping and surreal turns that push the limits of the imagination in their collision of tradition and nonconformity. Baharan Baniahmadi has crafted a wild, allegorical interrogation of trauma, women’s rights, and religious tradition.
“Nasrallah’s fourth novel, it takes his work to a new level of sophistication and constitutes a significant addition to the literary chronicling of the Canadian immigrant experience.” – Ian McGillis, Montreal Gazette
“Hotline intertwines hope and sorrow to create a moving story that sears the heart.” - Zeahaa Rehman, Quill & Quire
“I admire how Nasrallah plumbs new territory with each novel. That said, underlying themes and concerns thread through his oeuvre, such as emotional and geographic exile and ‘family.’" - Ami Sands Brodoff, Montreal Review of Books
“A quietly transformative story, one that takes your assumptions, twists them into a shape you didn’t initially see and casts them back at you in a really lovely way.” - Alison Manley, Miramichi Reader
"Fiction about immigrants tends toward melancholy and tragedy. Dimitri Nasrallah’s new novel delivers something different. Hotline suggests that immigrant literature may be able to navigate its own course between the Scylla of despair and the Charybdis of naïveté. The problems of bootstraps narratives aside, happy endings are still worth writing." – Amanda Perry, The Walrus