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- Author: Williams, IanDate:Created2019Summary:
A hilarious and poignant love story about the way families are invented, told with the savvy of Zadie Smith, the energy of Junot Diaz, and an inventiveness all Ian Williams' own, set amidst a collision of cultures banging together in one polyglot suburb of Toronto. Felicia and Edgar meet as their mothers are dying. Felicia, a teen from an island nation, and Edgar, the lazy heir of a wealthy German family, come together only because their mothers share a hospital room. Felicia's mother dies and Edgar's "Mutter" does not--not right away, anyway. On her own in the cold white north, Felicia drops out of high school and takes a job as Mutter's caregiver. While Felicia and Edgar don't quite understand each other, and Felicia recognizes that Edgar is selfish, arrogant, and often unkind, they form a bond built on grief (and proximity) that results in the birth of a son Felicia calls Armistice. Army, for short. Some years later, Felicia and Army (now 14) are living in the basement of a home owned by Oliver, a man of Portuguese descent who works a gripe about his ex-wife into any conversation. Oliver has two kids, the teenaged Heather and the odd little Hendrix, and these three, along with Felicia and Army, form an unconventional family, except that Army wants to sleep with Heather, and Oliver wants to kill Army. Army has never met his father, but his fascination with his absent father--and his absent father's money--begins to grow as odd gifts from Edgar begin to show up (like a case of Jolly Ranchers and some red shoelaces). And Felicia, who has kept her distance from the man, feels Edgar's shadow looming over them. A brutal assault, a mortal disease, a death, and a birth reshuffle this group of people again to form another version of the family. Reproduction is a profoundly insightful exploration of the bizarre ways people become bonded that insists that family isn't a matter of blood.Original Publisher: Toronto, Random House CanadaLanguage(s): EnglishISBN: 9780735274051, 0735274053Collection(s)/Series: Scotiabank Giller Prize 2019