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. When Felicia’s mother dies and Edgar’s “Mutter” does not, 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. Or Army, for short. Some years later, Felicia and Army (now 14) are living in the basement of a home owned by Oliver, a divorced man of Portuguese descent who has two kids-the teenaged Heather and the odd little Hendrix. Along with Felicia and Army, they form an unconventional family, except that Army wants to sleep with Heather, and Oliver wants to kill Army. Then Army’s fascination with his absent father-and his absent father’s money-begins to grow as odd gifts from Edgar begin to show up. And Felicia feels Edgar’s unwelcome 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.
About the Author
Ian Williams is the author of Reproduction, winner of the Scotiabank Giller Prize; Personals, shortlisted for the Griffin Poetry Prize and the Robert Kroetsch Poetry Book Award; Not Anyone’s Anything, winner of the Danuta Gleed Literary Award for the best first collection of short fiction in Canada; and You Know Who You Are, a finalist for the ReLit Prize for poetry. He was named as one of ten Canadian writers to watch by CBC. Williams completed his Ph.D. in English at the University of Toronto, mentored by George Elliot Clarke, and is currently an assistant professor of poetry in the Creative Writing program at the University of British Columbia.
Ian Williams segues from poet to novelist in Reproduction, an unconventional, multigenerational and multicultural family saga. He creates complex and memorable, if not always likeable, characters whose attempts to create family, to establish security, to find love and to prosper are foiled by miscommunication, unrealistic expectations, and, well, the way life just happens. Library readers were impressed by Williams’ daring and deft use of innovative stylistic techniques to propel the plot forward and develop the many important, contemporary themes. Williams also excels at capturing each character with distinctive dialogue. This is a memorable, rambunctious debut novel which both challenges readers intellectually and evokes strong reader reactions. Saint John Free Public Library, Canada