One of the most intellectually bracing, technically fascinating Canadian-authored novels of the year was actually published in the U.S. by the indie press Dalkey Archive.
York University professor S.D. Chrostowska’s fiction debut is frankly unclassifiable: an epistolary novel practically devoid of plot, without recognizable characters, and written in a highly abstruse style, the book is definitely not for everyone. For those who are game, however, Chrostowska’s one-sided correspondence, from a character identified only as “Fern Wren” and addressed to an anonymous artist, is a frequently profound, occasionally frustrating meditation on the nature of identity, and the convoluted, often contradictory relationship between writer and reader.
With nods to Derrida, Barthes, and the nouveau roman philosophy of Alain Robbe-Grillet, Permission was one of the most European English-language CanLit novels of the year.