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The Origin of Species

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The Origin of Species Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Winner of the 2008 Governor General’s Award for Fiction

Montreal during the turbulent mid-1980s: Chernobyl has set Geiger counters thrumming across the globe, HIV/AIDS is cutting a deadly swath through the gay population worldwide, and locally, tempers are flaring over the recent codification of French as the official language of Quebec. Hiding out in a seedy apartment near campus, Alex Fratarcangeli (“Don’t worry. . . . I can’t even pronounce it myself”), an awkward, thirty-something grad student, is plagued by the sensation that his entire life is a fraud. Scarred by a distant father and a dangerous relationship with his ex Liz, and consumed by a floundering dissertation linking Darwin’s theory of evolution with the history of human narrative, Alex has come to view love and other human emotions as “evolutionary surplus, haphazard neural responses that nature had latched onto for its own insidious purposes.” When Alex receives a letter from Ingrid, the beautiful woman he knew years ago in Sweden, notifying him of the existence of his five-year-old son, he is gripped by a paralytic terror. Whenever Alex’s thoughts grow darkest, he recalls Desmond, the British professor with dubious credentials whom he met years ago in the Galapagos. Treacherous and despicable, wearing his ignominy like his rumpled jacket, Desmond nonetheless caught Alex in his thrall and led him to some life-altering truths during their weeks exploring Darwin’s islands together. It is only now that Alex can begin to comprehend these unlikely life lessons, and see a glimmer of hope shining through what he had thought was meaninglessness.

Review:

"In his overambitious fifth novel, two-time Governor General's award — winner Ricci (The Lives of Saints) introduces Alex Fratarcangeli, a 30-something Ph.D. student living in 1986 Montreal. Markedly immature, anxiety-ridden, and unable to complete his dissertation, Alex is in therapy after a bad break-up, and his interest in Charles Darwin and the meaning of life has him dangling in existential limbo. The novel takes the reader through an exhaustive look at a year in Alex's life — with extensive flashbacks — pausing to flesh out each minor player's tale in sometimes excessive length. Alex's general inability to move forward stems not only from his failed relationships but also from a summer he spent in the Galpagos Islands with an English researcher, and though he slides through a series of sexual relationships with a diverse set of women, it's a platonic friendship with a sickly young woman that brings out the best in him. Ricci's accomplished prose does much to mitigate an unruly story line and an overstocked cast; Alex's pathetic flailings, meanwhile, will, depending on the reader, either endear or annoy." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

About the Author

Nino Riccis first novel, Lives of the Saints, was published in fifteen countries and won a host of awards, including the Canadian governments premier literary prize, the Governor Generals Award for Fiction, and, in England, the Betty Trask Award and the Winifred Holtby Prize. It formed the first volume of a trilogy that was completed by In a Glass House and Where She Has Gone and that was adapted as a miniseries starring Sophia Loren and Kris Kristofferson. Ricci is also the author of Testament, winner of the Trillium Award, and was the inaugural winner of the Alistair MacLeod

Award for Literary Achievement. Nino Riccis newest novel, The Origin of Species, earned him his second Governor Generals Award. Ricci lives in Toronto, and is a past president of the Canadian Centre of International PEN.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781590513491
Author:
Ricci, Nino
Publisher:
Other Press (NY)
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Psychological fiction
Subject:
Self-realization
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20100431
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
496
Dimensions:
8.9 x 6 x 1.4 in 1.45 lb

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

The Origin of Species Used Trade Paper
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Product details 496 pages Other Press - English 9781590513491 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In his overambitious fifth novel, two-time Governor General's award — winner Ricci (The Lives of Saints) introduces Alex Fratarcangeli, a 30-something Ph.D. student living in 1986 Montreal. Markedly immature, anxiety-ridden, and unable to complete his dissertation, Alex is in therapy after a bad break-up, and his interest in Charles Darwin and the meaning of life has him dangling in existential limbo. The novel takes the reader through an exhaustive look at a year in Alex's life — with extensive flashbacks — pausing to flesh out each minor player's tale in sometimes excessive length. Alex's general inability to move forward stems not only from his failed relationships but also from a summer he spent in the Galpagos Islands with an English researcher, and though he slides through a series of sexual relationships with a diverse set of women, it's a platonic friendship with a sickly young woman that brings out the best in him. Ricci's accomplished prose does much to mitigate an unruly story line and an overstocked cast; Alex's pathetic flailings, meanwhile, will, depending on the reader, either endear or annoy." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
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