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Asylum

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Paperback published by Emblem Editions (McClelland & Stewart)

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About This Book
Alexis’s long-awaited second novel follows his award-winning Childhood.

Set in Ottawa during the Mulroney years, Asylum is André Alexis’s sweeping, edged-in-satire, yet deeply serious tale of intertwined lives and fortunes, of politics and vain ambition, of the building of a magnificent prison, of human fallibility, of the search for refuge, of the impossibility of love, and of finding home. Whether he is taking us into the machinations of a government office or into the mysterious workings of the human heart, Alexis is always alert to the humour and the profound truth of any situation. His cast of characters is eccentric and unforgettable, all recognizable in one way or another as aspects of ourselves or people we know well. At the centre of the story, which covers almost a decade, is a visionary project to build an ideal prison, a perfect metaphor for the purest aspects of artistic ambition and for all that is great and flawed in the world.

André Alexis is a true original, one of the most talented and astute writers writing in Canada today. This dazzling novel is filled with tragedy, dry wit, intellectual grist. It is playful, linguistically accomplished, and psychologically profound. Its yearnings constitute the highest level of human concerns and pursuits. Alexis has written The Great Canadian Novel, with a twist.


From the Hardcover edition.
Show less
Alexis’s long-awaited second novel follows his award-winning Childhood.

Set in Ottawa during the Mulroney years, Asylum is André Alexis’s sweeping, edged-in-satire, yet deeply serious tale of intertwined lives and fortunes, of politics and vain ambition, of the building of a magnificent prison, of human fallibility, of the search for refuge, of the impossibility of love, and of finding home. Whether he is taking us into the machinations of a government office or into the mysterious workings of the human heart, Alexis is always alert to the humour and the profound truth of any situation. His cast of characters is eccentric and unforgettable, all recognizable in one way or another as aspects of ourselves or people we know well. At the centre of the story, which covers almost a decade, is a visionary project to build an ideal prison, a perfect metaphor for the purest aspects of artistic ambition and for all that is great and flawed in the world.

André Alexis is a true original, one of the most talented and astute writers writing in Canada today. This dazzling novel is filled with tragedy, dry wit, intellectual grist. It is playful, linguistically accomplished, and psychologically profound. Its yearnings constitute the highest level of human concerns and pursuits. Alexis has written The Great Canadian Novel, with a twist.


From the Hardcover edition.
Product Details
Paperback (496 pages)
Published: April 7, 2009
Publisher: McClelland & Stewart
Imprint: Emblem Editions
ISBN: 9780771006708
Other books byAndre Alexis
  • Childhood

    Childhood
    Uniquely imagined and vividly evoked, André Alexis’s prize-winning novel chronicles the childhood – or perhaps the loss of childhood – of Thomas MacMillan, who sets out to piece together the early years of his life. Raised in a Southern Ontario town in the ’50s and ’60s, Thomas is abandoned to the care of his eccentric Trinidadian grandmother. Then, at ten, his mother, Katarina, reclaims him, taking him to Ottawa and to the once-splendid Victorian home of Henry Wing, a gentle conjurer whose love of science and the imagination becomes an important legacy. But is he Thomas’s father? Moving and wryly humorous, Childhood tells the story of a man’s quest for what is lost, bringing him closer to the truth about himself.

    Despair

    Despair
    And Other Stories
    The exquisitely crafted, haunting story collection from theaward-winning author of Childhood. Following on the heels of his award-winning first novel, Childhood, André Alexis's story collection, Despair, offers further proof of his brilliance and showcases his talent for spinning disturbing but elegant tales. Emerging from the landscapes and folklores of Trinidad and Canada, Despair reveals a world both recognizable and shockingly strange. A failed artist with beautiful hands is driven by a fetish for injuries in "The Third Terrace." While on an excursion to a bakery, a man wrestles with his capacity for evil deeds in "The Metaphysics of Morals." In "The Night Piece," a boy is haunted by a story about a soucouyant, a vampire in the guise of an old woman. In these eight beautifully crafted stories, shimmering with malevolence and longing, Alexis has fashioned an underworld and limned it with light.

    Beauty and Sadness

    Beauty and Sadness
    Award-winning novelist and critic Andre Alexis explores worlds with names such as Henry James, Maupassant, and Kawabata, trying, like any traveller, to faithfully convey what he sees and feels in those places while giving a convincing portrait of himself. At the same time, Beauty and Sadness is an autobiography. Alexis's intent is to give a sense of what it is like to live ecstatically through literature -- what it is like to read Tolstoy and feel that The Death of Ivan Ilych, for instance, is connected to the land of his birth, Trinidad, as intimately as it is to his home, Canada. In the final piece of the book, entitled Water, Alexis gives the reader an intimate sense of what it has been like to live as a writer these last twenty years while practicing an art form (fiction/literature) that he contends is in decline. In the author's own words: Beauty and sadness is where world and words meet.

    The Complete Stories of Morley Callaghan

    The Complete Stories of Morley Callaghan
    Volume Two
    Eighty-five stories by one of Canada’s greatest writers are collected in this four-volume anthology. Several pieces of Morley Callaghan’s short fiction are collected here for the first time, while some which have been out of print for decades are now made available. Each volume contains a section providing the year of publication for each story, a question-and-answer section, and comprehensive editorial notes. As a whole, this series is essential reading for understanding the growth and importance of Canadian literature.

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