Fugue States

Fugue States

Book - 2017
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One of The Globe and Mail 's Best Books of 2017: A perfect mix of entertaining and edgy, Fugue States is a thought-provoking exploration of the first-generation Canadian experience from one of the more irreverent, inventive and daring minds writing fiction today

Fugue States begins as Ash Dhar, a thirty-something writer, opens his mouth to deliver a eulogy at a funeral--the funeral for his own father, a Kashmir-born doctor. But in that moment between thought and speech, something mysterious occurs: a terrible wordless gap into which Ash falls helplessly, recovering only as the concerned faces of friends and family shock him into focus. Later, still unsettled as he sorts through his father's belongings, Ash discovers a partially completed and baffling work of fiction set in what seems to be Kashmir. Reading his father's words, Ash feels compelled to know more about this ancestral land--and yet he resists the impulse to visit, loathe to be a cliché, chasing self-discovery in a war-torn homeland. But Ash's childhood friend Matt--pothead, massage therapy student and self-described "maker of memories"--has no such hesitations and goes in Ash's place . . . with unexpected and excruciating results. Soon, Ash is forced to rescue Matt by following him to India--where he experiences a second alarming gap, one that echoes and amplifies the mysterious "fugue state" with which the novel began.

Fugue States is at once a parody of clueless tourism; a knowing, uneasy look at contemporary masculinity; and a surprisingly poignant tale about the deep inchoate melancholy that abides in people who, like Ash and his father, and even Matt-the-fool, have never felt completely at home in the world.
Publisher: Toronto : Alfred A. Knopf Canada, 2017
ISBN: 9780345811332
Branch Call Number: MAL
Characteristics: 355 p. ;,24 cm


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Sep 06, 2017

This is a heavy dose of "bro" culture. It's hard to believe an adult can be as clueless, needy, stupid and conniving as Matthew - I found the book excruciating when it focused on him. As for the main character Ash - he could be forgiven for his wishy-washiness due to the death of his father, but still he was overall emotionally constipated.

The ending was unexpected and clever and satisfying in its way.

Phil_R Jun 13, 2017

Once I got used to Matt's distracting behaviour, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. It feels as honest and sincere and personal as a work of fiction can be, and Pasha Malla handles dialogue as well as any author ever.

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