Kicking the Sky

Publisher: Anchor Canada
Now available in paperback--Anthony De Sa's novel of rare evocative power that captures the space between innocence and knowing--for a city, for a community and most especially for a trio of unforgettable boys.
     On a steamy summer day in 1977, Emanuel Jaques was shining shoes in downtown Toronto. Surrounded by the strip clubs, bars and body rub parlors of Yonge Street, Emanuel was lured away from his friends by a man who promised some easy money. Four days later the boy's body was discovered. He had been brutally raped and murdered, and Toronto the Good would never be the same. The murder of the Shoeshine Boy had particularly tragic resonance for the city's Portuguese community. The loss of one of their own symbolized for many how far they were from realizing their immigrant dreams.
     Kicking the Sky is told from the perspective of one of these children, Antonio Rebelo, a character first introduced in Barnacle Love. Twelve-year-old Antonio prizes his life of freedom and adventure. He and his best friends, Manny and Ricky, spend their days on their bikes exploring the labyrinth of laneways that link their Portuguese neighborhood to the rest of the city. But as the details of Emanuel's death expose Toronto's seedier underbelly, the boys are pulled into an adult world of danger and cruelty, secrets and lies much closer to home.
     Kicking the Sky is a novel driven by dramatic events, taking hold of readers from its opening pages, intensifying its force towards an ending of huge emotional impact.


1. The murder of Emanuel Jaques was a pivotal¾and symbolic¾moment in Toronto’s history, and in this novel the crime was perceived as a betrayal for the Portuguese community. What does Jaques’ murder symbolize for the young blood brothers, Antonio, Manny and Ricky?

2. While De Sa’s...

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   • "Kicking the Sky is a rich and compulsively readable addition to the fiction of [Toronto], a novel that, like most of the good ones, is funny, heart-breaking and humane." --Toronto Star 

   • "De Sa has given us a beguiling coming-of-age story--harked back to an event that shocked the country and had massive repercussions--and at the same time managed to beautifully capture a community and an era." --The Globe and Mail