Despair

And Other Stories

Andre Alexis

Henry Holt and Co.

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The publication of André Alexis's award-winning first novel, Childhood, in 1998, marked the United States debut of one of Canada's most gifted young writers. Now, with Despair, Alexis offers further proof of his brilliance and displays a talent for spinning disturbing but elegant tales.

Emerging from the landscapes and the folklore of Trinidad and Canada, Despair reveals a world both recognizable and shockingly strange: in cities riven by fear and violence, quiet inhabitants lead outwardly banal lives that conceal sinister realities. A failed artist with beautiful hands is driven by a fetish for injuries in "The Third Terrace." While on an excursion to a bakery, a man wrestles with his capacity for evil deeds in "The Metaphysics of Morals." "Horse" centers on the bizarre experiments of a doctor who has rented space in the house of a grieving man. In "The Night Piece," a boy is haunted by a story told to him about a soucouyant, a vampire in the guise of an old woman who has settled nearby.

In eight exquisitely crafted stories, shimmering with malevolence and longing, André Alexis has fashioned an underworld and limned it with light.

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Reviews

Praise for Despair

“[Alexis’s] stories are thoughtful, lyrical and formally ingenious.”—Jonathan Lethem, The New York Times Book Review

“Alexis combines a formal style, fantastic narratives and a sensualist’s world view to convey the subtle textures of grief, desire and love while at the same time spinning some very entertaining tales.”—Bliss Broyard, The Washington Post Book World

“Like Nicholson Baker, Alain de Botton or the late Donald Barthelme, Alexis is a proponent of blatant, lively artifice in fiction. His prose is by turns playful, creepy and surreal.”—Michael Upchurch, The Seattle Times

“The sliver of fear a reader feels is testimony to the fact that Alexis crosses some line between storytelling and incantation, in which the teller implicates the reader in the weaving of his spells.”—Susan Salter Reynolds, Los Angeles Times Book Review

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About the Author

Andre Alexis

André Alexis was born in Trinidad in 1957 and grew up in Canada. Despair was published in Canada in 1994 and was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Prize. His first novel, Childhood, is available from Owl Books (see page 33). Alexis lives in Toronto.

Andre Alexis

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Available Formats and Book Details

Despair
And Other Stories
Andre Alexis

Hardcover

Hardcover
Henry Holt and Co.
January 2000
Hardcover
ISBN: 9780805059793
ISBN10: 0805059792
5 1/4 x 8 1/4 inches, 224 pages
Age Range: 7 and up
Grade Range: 2 and up
$23.00
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Henry Holt and Co.

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