Asylum

Publisher: Emblem Editions
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.

READ AN EXCERPT

Little had changed and yet everything had changed. On this, the anniversary of his attempted suicide, WalterBarnes sat in one of the two chairs he nowowned, readingone of his two books. Of the two, a Bible and the Arden King Lear, he had chosen the Bible, not for any consciously spiritual reasonbut rather because he...
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READING GUIDE

1. Discuss the novel’s title, Asylum, and the many senses of the word’s meaning that can apply to various aspects of the book.

2. The book is narrated by Mark Ford, yet we are rarely aware of his presence, except at the beginning and the end. We also accept that there are many things that happen...

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PRAISE FOR

Praise for Childhood
“André Alexis is a genuine talent.” — Richard Bachmann, A Different Drummer Books

“Alexis [has an] astute understanding of the madly shimmering, beautifully weaving patterns created by what we have agreed to call memory.” — Ottawa Citizen

“Although Canada boasts many promising young writers, the most promising of all may be André Alexis. . . .” — London Free Press

“Alexis already knows what it takes many grey wise men a lifetime to realize: that neither memory nor history is a straight line.” — Edmonton Journal


From the Hardcover edition.