Praise for The Mercy Journals
“Casper employs clear, concise prose that moves at a steady clip, and the exploration, through one man’s account, of what it means to outlive one’s purpose is tightly constructed.”
"Casper has created a complex and unforgettable character in Quincy ... The Mercy Journals works on two levels: as a cautionary tale and as an examination of one man’s struggle to find meaning in life. The two levels work beautifully together."
Praise for Undone
“Cannily over the top in its comic depravity and magnetizing in its sympathy, Colapinto’s battle royale of innocence and evil, blindness and illumination, betrayal and love will thrill those who enjoy subversively erotic and suspenseful fiction of the finest execution and most cutting implications.”
—Booklist Starred Review
“New Yorker staffer Colapinto’s novel is an over-the-top, irreverent, and darkly comical thriller… Colapinto’s novel oscillates between highly ironic and deeply earnest treatments of this taboo subject matter. The story tackles sexual and moral dilemmas that are worth contemplating, delivering them at a breakneck and often entertaining pace.”
Going Against the Grain: Claudia Casper and John Colapinto
Thursday November 17, 2016
|Photo Credit: Alex Waber (Casper)|
New York Times bestselling writer John Colapinto (Undone (2016); About the Author (2001); As Nature Made Him: The Boy Who Was Raised as a Girl (1995)) joined Claudia Casper (The Reconstruction (1996); The Continuation of Love by Other Means (2004); The Mercy Journals (2016)) to discuss their experiences of how a novel takes shape; the collaborative aspects of writing and editing a novel; and the challenges of getting published when your book goes against the grain of publishing trends. Their conversation offered excellent insight into the creative processes of both writing and editing literary fiction. Colapinto and Casper read from their most recent novels, and opened the room up to questions from the audience.
About The Mercy Journals by Claudia Casper
This unsettling yet far from hopeless post-apocalyptic novel is set thirty years in the future, in the wake of a third world war waged as a result of a water crisis that ends in catastrophic destruction. One of the survivors, Allen Quincy is a former soldier nicknamed Mercy. He suffers from PTSD and is haunted by lingering memories of his family. His pain is eased when he meets a singer named Ruby, who briefly breathes new life into his existence before disappearing.
When his long-lost brother Leo arrives with news that his children have been spotted, the two brothers travel deep into the wilderness to look for them. But in the conflicts that follow, the line between truth and lies becomes indistinguishable, challenging Allen’s own moral code about the things that matter amid the wreckage of war and tragedy.
Set against a sparse yet fantastical landscape, The Mercy Journals explores the parameters of personal morality and forgiveness.
About Undone by John Colapinto
Already hailed and persecuted for its perverse humor and wildly wicked sensibility (the novel was rejected by 41 publishers before finding a home at Soft Skull Press), Undone is the tour-de-force black comedy by International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award Nominee John Colapinto.
In modern-day America, Dez is a former lawyer and teacher — an ephebophile with a proclivity for teenage girls—hiding out in a trailer park with his latest conquest Chloe.
Having been in and out of courtrooms (and therapists’ offices) for years, Dez is adrift, at odds with a society that persecutes him over his desires. From his couch one afternoon, Dez watches an interview with Jasper Ulrickson, a doting father and loving husband whose heartrending memoir, Lessons from My Daughter, has become a national bestseller: The memoir chronicles his journey with his wife, Pauline, who suffered a stroke giving birth to their only child and has been in a locked-in state ever since. Espousing their deep connection and chaste marriage, Jasper’s selfless devotion to his wife has made him one of the most popular and admired men in America.
Dez, driven by envy and greed, sets out to destroy Ulrickson by using Chloe to pose as the famous author’s long-lost daughter, infiltrate his family, seduce then expose him as an incestuous abuser, and, when he’s sent to jail, claim his fortune.
By turns sincere and wildly outlandish, precise and perverted, Undone will seduce readers as one of the most provocative publishing events of the summer.
Claudia Casper is the author of the novels The Reconstruction and The Continuation of Love by Other Means, which was short-listed for the Ethel Wilson BC Book Prize, and most recently, The Mercy Journals. Her writing has appeared in the Globe and Mail, the Vancouver Sun, Geist, Event, Best Canadian Short Stories (Oberon), and the anthology Dropped Threads: What We Aren’t Told (Vintage), edited by Carol Shields and Marjorie Anderson and Canadian Content. She is writing the screenplay for a 3D feature film France/Canada co-production of The Reconstruction. Her work has been published in Canada, the US, the UK, and Germany. She has taught writing for the Vancouver Manuscript Intensive and Kwantlen Polytechnic University. She lives in Vancouver, BC.
John Colapinto was born and raised in Toronto, and has a Master's in English literature from the University of Toronto. After freelancing for Canadian magazines for four years, he moved to New York in 1989 and wrote for many magazines, including The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, the New York Times magazine and New York. In 1995 he became a contributing editor at Rolling Stone where he won a National Magazine Award for a story about a medical scandal and expanded the story into a book, As Nature Made Him: The Boy Who Was Raised as a Girl, which became a New York Times bestseller. In 2001, he published a novel, About the Author. His most recent novel is Undone (April 2016, Soft Skull Press). Since 2006 he has been a staff writer at The New Yorker where he has written about subjects as diverse as medicinal leeches, shoplifting prevention, Karl Lagerfeld and Michelin food inspectors.