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April 2019 Fiction: Canadian

The Amateurs
By (author): Liz Harmer
9780345811257 Paperback, Trade English General Trade FICTION / Dystopian Apr 02, 2019
$19.95 CAD
Active 5.17 x 8.01 x 0.86 in 336 pages Knopf Random Vintage Canada Vintage Canada
Amazon Canada First Novel Award 2019, Short-listed
In the style of Margaret Atwood’s The Year of the Flood, Dave Eggers’ The Circle: a post-apocalyptic examination of nostalgia, loss and the possibility of starting over.

Allow us to introduce you to the newest product from PINA, the world’s largest tech company. “Port” is a curiously irresistible device that offers the impossible: space-time travel mysteriously powered by nostalgia and longing. Step inside a Port and find yourself transported to wherever and whenever your heart desires: a bygone youth, a dreamed-of future, the fabled past.

In the near-future world of Liz Harmer’s extraordinary novel, Port becomes a phenomenon, but soon it is clear that many who pass through its portal won’t be coming back—either unwilling to return or, more ominously, unable to do so. After a few short years, the population plummets. The grid goes down. Among those who remain is Marie, a thirtysomething artist living in a small community of Port-resistors camping out in the abandoned mansions of a former steel town. As winter approaches the group considers heading south, but Marie clings to the hope that her long lost lover will one day return to the spot where he disappeared.

Meanwhile, PINA’s corporate campus in California has become a cultish enclave of survivors. Brandon, the right-hand man to the mad genius who invented Port, decides to get out. He steals a car and drives north-east, where he hopes to find his missing mother. And there he meets Marie.

The Amateurs is a story of rapture and romance, and an astoundingly powerful tale about what happens when technology meets desire.

Story Locale: Hamilton, Ontario, and Silicon Valley, California

Publication History: Knopf Canada, HC (04/2018)

AWARD WINNER: Harmer is a National Magazine Award winner for personal journalism and has been shortlisted for prestigious US literary prizes for her fiction, including the University of Georgia’s Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction.

CONNECTED AUTHOR: Originally from Canada, Harmer lives and works in Southern California and is well-connected in the literary community on the West Coast.

TIMELY SUBJECT: The Amateurs tackles urgent issues such as privacy in the age of Big Tech—a substantial part of the book takes place in a post-apocalyptic Silicon Valley. Harmer’s story is a blazing and prescient satire of the youth-oriented corporate culture there.

LIZ HARMER’s stories and essays have been published in The Malahat Review, PRISM, Grain, The New Quarterly, Little Brother and other journals. She has won a National Magazine Award in Personal Journalism, was longlisted for the CBC Short Story Prize and was a finalist for a Glimmer Train Prize. She holds an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Toronto, where her mentor was Charles Foran. She has also studied with David Bezmozgis, Richard Greene, Robert McGill and Richard Bausch. Raised in Hamilton, Ontario, she now lives with her husband and their three young daughters in southern California, where she is hard at work on a second novel.

Author Residence: Riverside, California

Author Hometown: Hamilton, Ontario

Marketing: US Plans: 

Advance mailing to trade publications including PW, Booklist, Kirkus and Library Journal

BookRiot promotion

Target long lead review outlets such as People, Entertainment Weekly and O Magazine

Pursue reviews at on-sale in both print and online

Explore opportunities with subscription boxes

Author Website:

Author Social Media: Twitter: @lizharmer

“[Harmer] demonstrates a wonderful discipline and restraint.”—John Valliant

The Amateurs is sly and smart, unsettled and unsettling, a bold probe into our age’s grand seduction. An astonishing debut by a dazzling new voice.”—Charles Foran

“Harmer takes cues from Margaret Atwood and Cormac McCarthy in this sharp debut, a cautionary tale of tech gone astray.”—Toronto Life

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