Men Walking on Water

Publisher: Knopf Canada
This utterly addictive, brilliant novel about rum-running in the 1920s is like The Wire transplanted to Prohibition-era Detroit, by a writer of whom Stephen King has said: "Emily Schultz is my new hero."

Men Walking on Water
opens on a bitter winter's night in 1927, with a motley gang of small-time smugglers huddled on the banks of the Detroit River, peering towards Canada on the opposite side. A catastrophe has just occurred: while driving across the frozen water by moonlight, a decrepit Model T loaded with whisky has broken the ice and gone under--and with it, driver Alfred Moss and a bundle of money. From that defining moment, the novel weaves its startling, enthralling story, with the missing man at its centre, a man who affects all the characters in different ways. In Detroit, a young mother becomes a criminal to pay down the debt her husband, assumed dead, has left behind; a Pentecostal preacher brazenly uses his church to fund his own bootlegging operation even as he lectures against the perils of drink; and across the river, a French-Canadian woman runs her booming brothel business with the permission of the powerful Detroit gangsters who are her patrons.
     The looming background to this extraordinary story, as compelling as any character, is the city of Detroit--a place of grand dreams and brutal realities in 1927 as it is today, fuelled by capitalist expansion and by the collapse that follows, sitting on the border between countries, its citizens walking precariously across the river between pleasure and abstinence. This is an absolutely stunning, mature, and compulsively readable novel from one of our most talented and unique writers.


The man who connected them wasn’t a man anymore, but a body, hidden deep beneath the green ice of the Detroit River. The group of rumrunners huddled on the shore, consulting on what had just happened. All knew the doors of the old Ford had been removed for ease of exit in exactly this circumstance, yet apparently...
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“Emily Schultz is my new hero.”Stephen King

The Blondes is intelligent, mesmerizing and fearless. An entirely original and beautifully twisted satire with a heart of darkness.” —Emily St. John Mandel, author of Station Eleven
“Reading The Blondes. . . . Wow!” —Margaret Atwood
“Like the literary love child of Naomi Wolf and Stephen King, The Blondes examines our cultural attitudes about beauty through the lens of a post-9/11, high-alert nightmare. The result is a spellbinding brew, both satirical and deeply satisfying.” —Helene Wecker, author of The Golem and the Jinni

“An energetic, startling novel. Emily Schultz is a writer with a deadly sense of humor. You laugh one moment, you’re frightened the next.” —Peter Orner, author of Last Car Over the Sagamore Bridge

“Sharp and fluid and legitimately disturbing. A thinking person’s apocalyptic nail-biter.” —Ben Loory, author of Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day

“At once weird and grounded, fizzily comic and satirically serious, The Blondes takes you by surprise and keeps on surprising.” —Andrew Pyper, author of The Demonologist
“[Schultz] creates a clever, idea-layered landscape of speculative fiction in which she can deposit a very real, complex, somewhat self-absorbed yet ultimately sympathetic character, one who just by looking, feeling and responding to events both extraordinary and banal, speaks to myriad perceptions of women both real and invented.” —National Post
The Blondes is an exploration of beauty, the female psyche, misogyny and female relationships wrapped up in the guise of a thriller. It represents a major accomplishment by writer Emily Schultz, who is able to bring all these elements together in a way that feels fresh and thought provoking.” —Daily Herald Tribune
“Schultz layers in astute observations about women’s relationships as well as loads of corrosively humorous commentary on social, sexual and cross-border politics.” ­—Toronto Star
“An engaging, satirical study of our beauty-obsessed society and the idea that looks really can kill.” —Chatelaine
“The novel is part metaphor for racism, part commentary on epidemic-related paranoia and part sly look at manufactured beauty. But within these lofty themes are fascinating characters in intriguing relationships. . . . Schultz nails the darkly comic tone and maintains her edge in a narrative that depicts desperate people who tend to be cruel, not warm and toasty, in the face of fear.” —NOW
“The Blondes is scary and deeply, bitingly funny—a satire about gender that kept me reading until four in the morning—and a fine addition to the all-too-small genre of feminist horror.” —Carmen Maria Machado, NPR
“Those who enjoy Margaret Atwood, Canada’s reigning feminist fabulist, should sign up for [The Blondes]. I did, and gladly.” ―The Dallas Morning News
“With a lively sense of danger already established only fifty pages in, and an absurdist but compelling feminist premise, the book has the enviable qualities of a smart page-turner.” ―Flavourwire
“[A] smart new literary thriller. . . . A nail-biter that is equal parts suspense, science fiction and a funny, dark sendup of the stranglehold of gender.” ―Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Like Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. . . . A fast-paced thriller, with all the best elements of horror doused in feminist critique, sociocultural commentary and political and social satire. . . . The book remains wholly original.” ―KQED Arts
“What started out as a pseudo zombie-tale is now also a road story, and a feminist bildungsroman and a parable about prejudice and reproductive freedom and immigration. . . . [Schultz’s] sense of humor underlies the basic conceit of The Blondes, in which blond women, so long objects of the male gaze, suddenly become fearsomely threatening.” ―Los Angeles Times
“Sensitive and contemplative. . . . Unnerving and sometimes comically macabre. . . . Schultz uses this worldwide calamity to . . . reflect on our tangled definitions of beauty and the life-altering responsibilities of motherhood. . . . A heroine who’s also a feminist critic of pop culture is our perfect guide.” ―The Washington Post