The Petty Details of So-and-So’s Life

Publisher: Anchor Canada
With her second novel, The Petty Details of So-and-so’s Life, award-winning and celebrated author Camilla Gibb probes the bruises of family with humanity, hilarity, and a keen eye for the grotesque to deliver one of the most anticipated books of the year.

A startling and ambitious novel, as funny as it is poignant, The Petty Details of So-and-so’s Life tells the story of Blue and Emma Taylor, who, despite an almost telepathic connection, respond to the sudden disappearance of their explosive father in remarkably different ways. Emma sets off in pursuit of a new family, and discovers a sense of belonging in the most unexpected places. Burly, tattoo-stamped Blue, haunted by the brutal, disparaging voice of their father, embarks on a cross-country search for the elusive parent. Emma and Blue share a most intimate connection, one forged in the secret worlds and wordless communications of childhood. As they grow, they discover the limits of the language they share.

Camilla Gibb’s debut novel, Mouthing the Words, won the 2000 City of Toronto Book Award, and has been published in twelve countries. Camilla is one of two Canadian authors named to the Orange Futures List, compiled by the Orange Prize jury to celebrate twenty-one promising writers to watch in the new century.


“I will make gashes on my entire body and tattoo it.
I want to be as hideous as a Mongol.
You will see, I will howl in the streets.”
-- Arthur Rimbaud, A Season in Hell

The Extinction of the Question Mark

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“An astonishing novel replete with the amazing possibilities of survival, reunion and letting go.” -- The Globe and Mail

“Gibb is surely one of the most talented writers around. . . . She can do funny, she can do sad, she can do sex. I suspect that there is little that this wonderful woman cannot do.” -- The Times (London)

“Gibb has an impressive gift for tart description. . . . Her depictions are seductive: each is so sordid you can’t help but be fascinated . . . bursting with ideas and insight.” -- Vancouver Sun

“Camilla Gibb is developing a reputation for sharp, coruscating narratives of dysfunctional families. . . . [This is a] funny, twisted, heart-breaking novel.” -- The Independent (UK)

“Gibb’s literary masterpiece inspires us to reflect on our own lives.” -- Hamilton Spectator

Praise for Mouthing the Words:
Mouthing the Words rings with an authority rarely found in first novels. By dint of Gibb’s lush, visceral prose, Mouthing the Words persuasively charts one woman’s journey back to wholeness.” -- The Washington Post

“Gibb’s debut novel is both gut-wrenching and gut-busting. Ridiculously good for a first novel.” -- NOW Magazine

“Gibb scales her story small, twists her sentences into prickly, unsentimental assaults and ends up with a portrait of terrible, comic humanity.” -- The New York Times