Mikella Nicol
Translated by Lesley Trites

Capturing the emblematic ennui of a brooding Montréalaise, a millennial novel by one of Quebec’s brightest young feminists.

Montreal is in the grips of one of its summer heat waves, when searing temperatures have a way of making its residents cast aside their better judgment. A young twenty-something works the night shift at a call center, her only company the disembodied voices of the customers who call in to complain. She spends her night off drinking with her friend Louis at “their” bar, while her successful boyfriend sleeps. His career allows her the pleasures of his spacious, modern condo, a new existence. She likes feeling undefined, still up for grabs, even as the middle-class trappings of her relationship threaten to shape her.

In the stifling humidity of such surroundings, her life is turned upside down when she grows obsessed with Mia, a beautiful woman she meets one night at the bar. Then there’s the woman who’s gone missing, whose face is constantly on screens across the city. How can she stem the drift away from her relationship, she worries, when her former lover B., who was both violent and magnetic, is always in her thoughts?

All these orbits are set to collide, as the heat wave shows no sign of breaking and emotions reach record highs.

Esplanade Fiction


"If it’s true that the young inhabit their own world, then novels about urban youth can feel like dispatches from a foreign country even when they’re set in your own neighbourhood. Mikella Nicol’s Aphelia, a cause célèbre on its original 2017 French publication, follows the ups and downs — mostly downs — of a 20-something graveyard-shift worker at a call centre during a summer heat wave as she attempts to recover from the messy end of a volatile relationship. If you’ve found your views on millennials piqued and enriched by Geneviève Pettersen and Guillaume Morissette, Nicol looks like the natural next thing." - Ian McGillis, Montreal Gazette

"This book was a pleasure to read, at times stark and haunting and at others wonderfully descriptive as to almost feel the sweat trickling down your back. The translation by Lesley Trites is on point and flows easily and naturally." - Ann Marie Boulanger, Quebec Reads

"Nicol’s writing is unflinching as she explores the rigours of twenty-first- century early adulthood. This short volume overflows with sex, alcohol, and alienation. The narrator’s sudden obsessions come to rule her entirely, only to lose their power as she moves on to the next fixation. It is a well-crafted portrayal of mid-twenties torment: bursts of intense passion interspersed with periods of depression and ennui on a backdrop of underemployment and horoscope blogs." - Jeff Miller, Montreal Review of Books

Mikella Nicol is the author of two novels, Les filles bleues de l’été and Aphelia. She lives in Montreal.

Lesley Trites is the author of the story collection A Three-Tiered Pastel Dream(Véhicule Press, 2017) and the poetry collection echoic mimic (Invisible Publishing, 2011). Winner of the 2016 3Macs carte blanche Prize, she lives in Montreal, where she is the associate editor of the Montreal Review of Books.
ISBN13: 9781550655254

CDN $18.95

Trade paperback
160 pp 7.5" x 5"
ISBN13: 9781550655193

CDN $18.95
US & International
US $15.95