Consent: A novel (Hardcover)
One of my top picks for early 2021 new releases. Two sets of sisters unexpectedly connected by two traumatic events. The writing is rich, honest, and insinuating. Each character's purpose clear, right down to the child in the coffee shop shyly playing on his sister's lap. I found myself surprised by the events, their unfolding, but also acknowledging how believable and true it all felt. A grim ode to sisterhood. — From Alej's Picks
LONGLISTED FOR THE GILLER PRIZE
From "this generation's answer to Alice Munro" (Vancouver Sun) comes a sly, sensual, haunting novel about two women whose lives collide when tragedy changes them forever.
Saskia and Jenny are twins alike in appearance only: Saskia is a grad student with a single-minded focus on her studies, while Jenny is glamorous, thrill-seeking, and capricious. Still, when Jenny is severely injured in an accident, Saskia puts her life on hold to be with her sister. Sara and Mattie are sisters with another difficult dynamic. Mattie, who is younger, is intellectually disabled. Sara loves nothing more than fine wines, perfumes, and expensive clothing, and leaves home at the first opportunity. But when their mother dies, Sara inherits the duty of caring for her sister. She moves Mattie in with her--but it's not long until tragedy strikes. Now, both Sara and Saskia, having been caregivers for so long, find themselves on their own. Yet through a cascade of circumstances as devastating as they are unexpected, these two women will come together. Razor-sharp and profoundly moving, Consent is a thought-provoking exploration of the complexities of familial duty, and of how love can become entangled with guilt, resentment, and regret.
About the Author
ANNABEL LYON is the author of seven books for adults and children, including the internationally best-selling The Golden Mean, which received the prestigious Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize. She teaches creative writing at the University of British Columbia.
“This tightly and beautifully written novel folds time and longing into every sentence and every page. It takes risks with form to reveal a profoundly human story, and it leaves us with an unexpected sensation: that this is real life—it contains all kinds of deep and difficult loves, and not all of us can survive them. It’s a brave, even dangerous book and so compelling that I read it from cover to cover over the course of one night.”
—Preti Taneja, author of We That Are Young
“Mesmerizing . . . An intense, intimate novel of love, grief, and murder [with] a deliciously dark conclusion . . . Perfectly captures the odd mix of love and resentment faced by caregivers.”
“[A] short, intense, and coruscating book. . . . [Lyon] packs more into her sentences than most writers working today and constructs a narrative that closes on the reader like a mousetrap. And like any good mousetrap, by the time its victim realizes they’ve stumbled, it’s too late.”
—Quill & Quire
“A genuinely surprising read, rooted in a keen, if unsettling, understanding of human nature . . . Consent defies conventional narrative, embracing instead a sense of emotional time . . . This is, after all, how we think and feel, how families and relationships develop and age, how we grow. Life, Lyon shows, isn’t a straight line.”
—Robert J. Wiersema, Toronto Star
“[A]n exuberant and weirdly wonderful novel that absolutely commits to its feverish tale of damaged brains, storied couture dresses, alcoholism, mortality, rare French perfumes, tempestuous sisterhood and cold-blooded retaliation. . . . Brimming with smart, sharp writing and wholly unpredictable turns from one chapter to the next, now and then in fact its cockeyed vision brings to mind Hitchcock and Lynch at their quirky, misanthropic finest. . . . As attractive as the sharp turns and unsettling comedy are, Lyon’s affection for her leading ladies and acceptance (even celebration) of them as they are supplies the novel with irresistible charm.”
—The Vancouver Sun
“Combining ethical dilemmas with material indulgence, Consent is a heady, intoxicating blend. In slick and sensual prose, Lyon challenges what it means to be a sister, a carer, an addict, an enabler and maybe even a murderer.”
—Ruth Gilligan, The Butchers’ Blessing
“Lyon traces the entanglements of sisterhood that can’t be separated from each identity . . . The novel builds to a climax that weaves together each plotline, leaving room for surprising moments of insight.”
—Rudrapriya Rathore, Canadian Notes and Queries
“So very crazily enjoyable and pleasingly savage . . . An exuberant and weirdly wonderful novel . . . Brimming with smart, sharp writing and wholly unpredictable turns from one chapter to the next . . . Brings to mind Alfred Hitchcock and David Lynch at their quirky, misanthropic finest . . . Lyon’s affection for her leading ladies and acceptance (even celebration) of them as they are supplies the novel with irresistible charm.”
—Brett Josef Grubisic, Beacon Herald (Stratford)