A Novel

eBook - 2015
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The writer Alain Farah is living in two time periods, and he feels out of place in both. At the opening of his story, we find ourselves at McGill in 1962 and 2012. But the real problem lies elsewhere: on campus, a psychiatrist is conducting dangerous and unethical experiments on his patients. The writer's uncle, Nab Safi, knows something about it, but soon he won't around to tell his story.

And so begins an investigation in which time, place, memory, and people collide. A mother in the Lebanese ghetto bets her son in a game of dice to settle her debts. Dinosaurs are resurrected. An odd gun will be used to determine the outcome for those who truly believe. A torn old photo and a gothic swimming pool lead to the disturbing depths of Ravenscrag, a mournful manor with 36 chambers . . .

Ravenscrag is an intriguing and truly original blend of retro science fiction and autobiography. It's about resilience, literature as remedy, and ultimately, it's a novel about survival through storytelling.

Publisher: Toronto : House of Anansi Press, 2015
ISBN: 9781770898967
Characteristics: 1 online resource


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Dec 11, 2016

Experimental literature which I did find hard to read. Interesting/horrifying to be taken back to RVH's Allan Memorial Hospital and the dreadful experiments on people being carried out by Dr. Donald Ewen Cameron, partially or totally funded by the CIA. I still shiver remembering some of the ghastly treatments we student nurses saw and were involved in in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

diesellibrarian Jun 19, 2015

Sometimes people who study books want to write books. And sometimes, when people who study books write books, those books are about the books that person has studied. Such is the case with Ravenscrag. The strange, disjointed narrative is silly with literary allusions; hell, Umberto Eco even appears as a character in the novel! If you're looking for linear plot development or a cohesive narrative arc, look elsewhere. On the surface, this is a PoMo character study of a person dealing with a traumatic childhood; on a deeper level, though, it seems to be more about the struggle of writing and truth-telling. Ultimately, it falls short of the works of someone like Eco, who is able to weave theory seamlessly into the story. Here, theory is first and foremost, draped in a thin gauze of narrative. If that's your bag, go for it. It's a fast read: perhaps we could call it escapist fiction for the MFA in Creative Writing set.

Mar 27, 2015

Enjoyable read from an intelligent author. Not as difficult as I expected.

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