- Paperback: 310 pages
- Published: 5/2/17
- IBSN: 9781617755347
- e-IBSN: 9781617755545
- IBSN: 9781617755774
- Genre: Fiction
A young man travels to Trinidad to reconnect with a transgender parent, uncovering the complex realities of love and family.
Long-listed for Canada’s Scotiabank Giller Prize
Short-listed for the Lambda Literary Award
“Readers who enjoy rich details of place will find Mootoo’s writing about her settings to be luxuriant; we are especially treated to abundant descriptions of Trinidad . . . [A] thoughtful exploration of place and identity.”
“Mootoo’s character-driven novel is rich in setting and slow in pace, inviting the reader to linger over its closely observed details.”
“Mootoo has produced a stunning meditation on story . . . [This novel] portrays the beautiful (yet often tense) bond between a parent and child, the complexities of immigration, the fluidity of gender, and provides a juxtaposition between two extreme climates, Toronto and Trinidad. It is a gorgeously written novel.”
—National Post (Canada)
“A fascinating premise that gives voice to the queer-identified . . . Mootoo’s brilliant evocations of [Trinidad’s] paradisiacal glow . . . are a real gift to the reader.”
—Globe and Mail (Canada)
“In rich and vivid descriptive prose, Mootoo portrays her characters’ journeys between countries and toward greater selfhood.”
—Quill & Quire, starred review
Jonathan Lewis-Adey was nine when his parents separated, and his mother, Sid, vanished entirely from his life. It is not until he is a grown man that Jonathan finally reconnects with his beloved lost parent, only to find, to his shock and dismay, that the woman he knew as “Sid” in Toronto has become an elegant man named Sydney living in his native Trinidad. For nine years, Jonathan has paid regular visits to Sydney on his island retreat, trying with quiet desperation to rediscover the parent he adored inside this familiar stranger, and to overcome his lingering confusion and anger at the choices Sydney has made.
At the novel’s opening, Jonathan is summoned urgently to Trinidad, where Sydney, now aged and dying, seems at last to offer him the gift he longs for: a winding story that moves forward sideways as it reveals the truths of Sydney’s life. But when and where the story will end is up to Jonathan, and it is he who must decide what to do with Sydney’s haunting legacy of love, loss, and acceptance.
SHANI MOOTOO was born in Ireland and grew up in Trinidad. Her novels include Valmiki’s Daughter, long-listed for the Scotiabank Giller Prize; He Drown She in the Sea, long-listed for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award; and Cereus Blooms at Night. Mootoo divides her time between Grenada and Canada. Her latest novel, Moving Forward Sideways Like a Crab, was long-listed for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and short-listed for the Lambda Literary Award. Visit her website: shanimootoo.com.