Vallum praises 'beautiful, challenging' Obituary

By Lisa Sookraj
November 10 2010

'The Obituary is beautiful, challenging poetic novel that is absolutely stunning in terms of image, sound, rhythm, merged with compelling characters and an extremely sensory depiction of place and atmosphere. Full of unconventional footnotes, brackets, symbols and crossed out words, the work itself is a complex equation to be cracked, or at least, to be pondered, much like life and identity. The narration is a fusion of three voices which bleed into each other – a woman named Rosine on a bed or bus, an erudite historian and a meticulously descriptive omniscient narrator.

The narrative is situated in Mile End – seeking to capture, (as Scott put it at the launch for the book) 'the music of the way people talk in Montreal' and the particular resonance the city and its inhabitants have. She compared this intention to Leonard Cohen’s Beautiful Losers ...

Lovely and brave, The Obituary has an uncommonly layered feel. The language is consistently playful, sensuous and tight. The world portrayed is full of vibrancy, an accumulation of delicious details infused with social commentary and facts. Although in one sense the novel can appear difficult to follow, it is ultimately inviting, fun and a pleasure for the reader to inhabit. The Obituary is all the things that good writing, be it poetry or prose, should be.'

Related Content
Related Contributors: 
Related Titles: