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Demi-Gods
By (author): Eliza Robertson
9780670068272 Hardcover English General Trade FICTION / Literary Sep 05, 2017
$29.95 CAD
Forthcoming 5.8 x 8.6 x 0.9 in 240 pages Penguin Canada Hamish Hamilton
A bold debut novel for those who loved Emma Cline’s The Girls and Rachel Kushner’s The Flamethrowers—a story of love, lust, and the spaces in between, from a “captivating” (NYTBR) new voice in fiction.

It is 1950, and nine-year-old Willa’s sheltered childhood is about to come to an end when her two new stepbrothers arrive at her family’s summer home in British Columbia. As Willa’s older sister pairs off with the older of these boys, Willa finds herself alone in the off-kilter company of the younger, Patrick. When, one afternoon, Patrick lures Willa into a dilapidated rowboat, Willa embarks upon an increasingly damaging relationship with Patrick, one that will forever reconfigure her understanding of herself and her place in a menacing, male-dominated world.

Demi-Gods traces the tumultuous years of Willa’s coming-of-age, as she is drawn further into Patrick’s wicked games. Though they see each other only a handful of times, each of their encounters is increasingly charged with sexuality and degradation. When Willa finally realizes the danger of her relationship with Patrick, she desperately tries to reverse their dynamic, with devastating results.

Daring, singular, and provocative, Demi-Gods explores a girl’s attempt to make a life of her own choosing in a world where woman’s independence is suspect, a world that threatens to claim a woman’s body as a mere object for men’s pleasure. A sensitive, playful, and entirely original evocation of the dualities within ourselves and our history, Eliza Robertson’s debut novel announces the arrival of one of the most exciting new voices in contemporary literature.

Story Locale: British Columbia and California

ELIZA ROBERTSON attended the University of Victoria and the University of East Anglia, where she received the 2011 Man Booker Scholarship. In 2013, she won the Commonwealth Short Story Prize and was a finalist for the CBC Short Story Prize and Journey Prize. Her first story collection, Wallflowers, was shortlisted for the East Anglia Book Award and selected as a New York Times Editor’s Choice. In 2015, she was named one of five emerging writers for the Writers’ Trust Five x Five program. She lives in Montreal.

Author Residence: Montreal

Author Hometown: Vancouver Island

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ONE OF NOW MAGAZINE’S 10 BOOKS TO READ THIS SUMMER

“Unsettling and compulsive, Demi-Gods is a fearless novel and Eliza Robertson a daring new novelist.” -John Boyne, author of The Heart’s Invisible Furies

Demi-Gods traces the border between fear and attraction. The novel throbs with ominous details—a foot on the small of a back, a jellyfish’s tendrils, a broken doll house. As Willa’s relationship to Patrick develops so does our sense of dread. Yet, it is also a book riddled with beauty—the way sunlight can transform a body, the depth of a moth’s wings, the way a girl’s body can beat to the same rhythm as the sea. Willa’s beauty is described as sly. The novel too, is sly. It will sneak under your skin.” -Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, author of Harmless Like You

“Demi-Gods
combines the unnerving, naked female candour of Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend with a darkened menace worthy of German director Michael Haneke. Eliza Robertson imbues each page with an almost perverse eroticism – all actions and even inanimate objects and innocent vegetation are charged with sexual tension. In the younger brother, Patrick, she has created one of the most convincing antagonists in recent memory – my gut churned each time he appeared on the scene.” -Zsuzsi Gartner, author of Better Living Through Plastic Explosives

Demi-Gods is a resolutely sure-footed piece of writing, moving with fleetness and agility over its chosen terrain. It’s the work of a writer who knows how to pace herself – when to sprint and when to hang back. Robertson – whose 2014 story collection, Wallflowers, was extravagantly praised by critics – is a landscape artist with the signal ability to re-map spacious exteriors into teeming headspaces… Readers who allow themselves to get fully caught up in Robertson’s dense, disturbing prose may wonder how long it will take to free themselves from this novel’s own thrall.” - Quill & Quire (starred)

“An exquisite, unconventional story of obsession, barely repressed desires, brimming with erotic detail, chafing with innuendo, and filled with desperately complex characters--Eliza Robertson has written a stunner of a debut novel.” –Lee Henderson, author of The Road Narrows As You Go

"Demi-Gods is both languid and full of menace, a slow burn that compulsively gathers heat. Robertson explores one girl’s passivity and power, and one boy’s monstrous impulses, with shocking honesty and language that is as precise and sensuous as a poet’s. This story is frighteningly real and beautifully told." - Deborah Willis, author of The Dark and Other Love Stories

“Demi-Gods is a feat of subtlety and daring that opens with unease, builds into a dark drama, and culminates in an unforgettable scene of revenge. Robertson portrays complex relationships with breathtaking precision and compassion, revealing the human bonds that protect, falter, survive, and heal. I absolutely love this novel.” – Alison MacLeod, author of All the Beloved Ghosts revealing the human bonds that protect, falter, survive, and heal. I absolutely love this novel.” – Alison MacLeod, author of All the Beloved Ghosts

Praise for Wallflowers:

“Reading Wallflowers, Eliza Robertson’s debut story collection, is like taking a solo swim across a chilly lake. You become mesmerized by details – the silken texture of the water, the cool air on your arms as they rise and fall, the rhythm of your breath, the dark scrub of trees on the distant shore – without ever forgetting the mysteries and potential dangers that lurk beneath. In this captivating book, people down in gray water, shacks burn on stony beaches, planes crash into rivers, hummingbirds are trapped and tethered to wrists, neighborhoods flood. Grief and loss cast long shadows over these stories, which sometimes bring us to the threshold of disaster and sometimes explore its aftermath.” —New York Times Book Review

"A little bit dark. A little bit weird. Eliza Robertson is Canada's next big lit star." -Flare

"An absolutely stunning collection. Without question it announces a major talent...There are doubtless many awards in her future." -Toronto Star

“Confirms her as a significant new talent. The ordinary and everyday become imbued with a strange significance, albeit with a feather-light touch; Robertson's prose is never weighed down, even as it imparts a sense of uneasiness, anticipation. Robertson lets images vibrate with possibilities. Almost every story, individually, is sharp, illuminating.” — Independent on Sunday

“Tremulous, tender, indeed, Munro-esque.” —Maclean's

“Robertson pays careful attention to the smallest detail, the one rich with opportunity and heartbreak.” – The Scotsman

“Robertson writes with a keen command, both of language and of form, pushing both beyond the realm of comfort.” – Vancouver Sun

“Robertson is poised to become a master.” – The Globe and Mail

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