Monday 7 August 2017


Finished July 29
Malagash by Joey Comeau

I loved this book. It's short but intense and entirely captivating.
The story takes place in Malagash, Nova Scotia, a small town where Sunday's father has chosen to come back to to spend his final days. Sunday is a young teen, an avid computer programmer, and she has decided to record as much as she can of her father's last words and put them in a computer virus that will make him live forever. Sunday's dad is dying of cancer, something she fights against, her mother tries to protect her and her younger brother Simon from, and yet something her father is determined to face openly. Everytime they visit him in the hospital, they part with the words "goodbye forever" on both sides, a cheerful way to indicate that at some point the words will be true.
The writing here is superb, and so many of them rang true for me. When Sunday talks about her dad, she says at one point "His face is very serious, which is one of the ways my father smiles" and I knew exactly what she meant. Her dad teases her with metaphors about how the end will come for him, but life will go on, saying "a leaf will fall," "a weight will lift," "snow will blanket the town." He loves sly humor, asking "How come the cat never comes to visit? Is she mad at me?"
Sunday is desperate for his words and begins to leave her phone when she leaves him, so she records his interactions with Simon, with her mother, with her uncles.
Simon is also an interesting character, referred to affectionately in the family as "the waif." Sunday begins to spend more time with him, sharing comfort and interests, and finding he has insights that had escaped her.
The other family members have wonderful ways of speaking as well. Her grandmother says "I always feel young. I stopped feeling old a long time ago," when talking about her own past. Sunday's mother tries to draw her back into the family activities, saying "Your grandmother has the most badass spoon collection you've ever seen. She's got a whole ros of spoons from old mental hospitals. She has a spoon from the Amityville Horror House."
The book is touching, sad, funny, poignant, and oh, so worth reading.

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