Synopses & Reviews
In Claudia Dey's Daughter, a woman long caught in her father's web strives to make a life — and art — of her own.
To be loved by your father is to be loved by God.
So says Mona Dean — playwright, actress, and daughter of a man famous for one great novel, a man whose needs and insecurities exert an inescapable pull and exact an immeasurable toll on the women of his family: Mona, her sister, her half sister, their mothers. His infidelity destroyed Mona's childhood, setting her in opposition to a stepmother who, though equally damaged, disdains her for being broken. Then, just as Mona is settling into her life as an adult and a fledgling artist, her father begins a new affair and takes her into his confidence. Mona delights — painfully, parasitically — in this attention. When he inevitably confesses to his wife, Mona is cast as the agent of disruption, punished for her father's crimes and ejected from the family.
Mona's tenuous stability is thrown into chaos. Only when she suffers an incalculable loss — one far deeper and more defining than family entanglements — can she begin supplanting absent love with real love. Pushed to the precipice, she must decide how she wants to live, what she most needs to say, and the risks she will take to say it.
Claudia Dey chronicles our most intimate lives with penetrating insight and devilish humor. Daughter is an obsessive, blazing examination of the forces that drive us to become, to create, and to break free.
"Daughter is a breathtaking and brilliant novel about the exquisite pain and agony that come from loving and needing certain people in our lives to love us back, to love us better. It is also about how we are relentless animals, wild and searching, trying to get our crushed, hungry bodies into our wolf packs. I was profoundly moved by it, so uncompromising and so true." Miriam Toews, author of Fight Night
"In Daughter, Claudia Dey writes beautifully about the special claustrophobia of family and how it can rearrange both art and life." Raven Leilani, author of Luster
"Controlled, lucid, and elegant. Daughter is also a formally inventive book — while still being deeply accessible — about how much we can know about others, and how well we can know ourselves. Claudia Dey describes feelings and struggles I haven't encountered in other novels. I loved this beautiful book." Sheila Heti, author of Pure Colour
About the Author
Claudia Dey's most recent novel, Heartbreaker, was a Northern Lit and Trillium Book Award finalist. It was named a best book of the year by multiple publications and is being adapted for television. Her plays have been produced internationally and nominated for the Governor General's, Dora Mavor Moore, and Trillium Book Awards. Dey has worked as a film actress, a guest artist at the National Theatre School, and an adjunct professor at the University of Toronto. Her fiction, interviews, and essays have appeared in The Paris Review ("Mothers as Makers of Death"), McSweeney's, Literary Hub, Hazlitt, and The Believer.