Author Alissa York will read from her novel, Fauna on Monday, Oct. 4 at 7 p.m. in the Ganong Hall Lecture Theatre at the University of New Brunswick Saint John.

Alissa York is the author of two previous novels – Mercy (2002) and Effigy (2007), a finalist for the Giller Prize and longlisted for the Dublin IMPAC Award. In 1999, she won the Bronwen Wallace Memorial Award and the Journey Prize for her short fiction “The Back of the Bear’s Mouth.” The reading is hosted by the Lorenzo Reading Series and the UNB Saint John Bookstore, and supported by The Canada Council for the Arts. Admission is free and all are welcome to attend. For more information contact The University Bookstore at (506) 648-5540, inprint at (506) 648-2315, or email sjbooks@unbsj.ca.

About the novel Fauna

Set in the urban woods of Toronto’s Don Valley, Fauna explores the community connection between fauna and human –their shared vulnerability and physical similarities.

Stephen, whose former days include military service in Kandahar, wonders, “Whoever decided it was a good idea to make bodies so fragile?” Each of the six characters featured in the novel – Edal, Lily, Guy, Stephen, Darius and Kate – is damaged in one way or another. All are under the age of 30.

Howell Auto Wreckers, a business Guy has inherited from an aunt and uncle, is the unlikely refuge for the humans of the story as well as for the animals. Not only is its yard filled with stacks of flattened vehicles, a towtruck and other equipment, but the place is also home to an injured hawk recuperating in a large mesh-fenced pen. On the property – obscured by a double hedge – there’s also a graveyard for the roadkill that Guy efficiently lifts from roads and freeways and lays to rest. Hubcaps mark each grave.

The house in the compound shelters raccoon kits that Stephen, Guy’s live-in employee, rescued when their mother was killed. Lily, a 15-year-old knife-toting runaway camping in the woods with her dog, comes to the yard every morning with the birds she rescues.

Each evening after supper, through the spring months of 2008, Guy reads a chapter of Kipling’s Stories and Poems to whoever is present. Several books, animal stories, are interleaved in Fauna, and six of the novel’s chapters are narrated from the perspective of animals inhabiting the wooded valley.

“This rich novel is layered with astonishing detail… every action a visceral experience. ” Globe and Mail

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