Larkhill, Ontario. 1989. A city on the brink of utter economic collapse. On the brink of violence. Driving home one night, unlikely passengers Jamie Garrison and Moses Moon hit a lion at fifty miles an hour. Both men stumble away from the freak accident unharmed, but neither reports the bizarre incident.
Haunted by the dead lion, Moses storms through the frozen city with his pathetic crew of wannabe skinheads searching for his mentally unstable mother. Jamie struggles with raising his young daughter and working a dead-end job in a butcher shop, where a dead body shows up in the waste buckets out back. A warning of something worse to come.
Somewhere out there in the dark, a man is still looking for his lion. His name is Astor Crane, and he has never really understood forgiveness.
It is graphically violent, at times moving from noir into horror. It is scuzzy, bloody and, needless to say, challenging (one of the protagonists is a skinhead, the other was a high-school bully). There is no honest cop to relate to, and very little by way of redemption — just a trail of destruction. But the writing is GREAT. It is darkly funny and at times absurd. Waste also feels gritty and authentic (the author is from Oshawa himself and did a lot of research on crime in the city during the 1980s), and Andrew has a great eye for incidental detail and a wicked turn of phrase. Although he describes his characters as “idiots” they are never two-dimensional or simple.
“An unflinching, black-hearted story told with relentless, straight-razor prose. Waste, Andrew F. Sullivan’s brilliantly concussive new novel, reminds me most of a literary cage match: busted, doomed characters tumbled together with no hope of escape—and it all makes for one hell of a show.”– Michael Christie, author of If I Fall, If I Die and The Beggar’s Garden
With it’s escalating violence and tragedy, Waste has the feel of Coen Brother’s films like Blood Simple or Fargo. It’s already been hand selected by Mark Medley as one of the Globe and Mail’s most anticipated books of the year, and rave reviews have appeared in Lit Reactor (“…that classic Smashing Pumpkins lyric kept playing in my head: ‘The world is a vampire…’ That’s almost literally true in Waste.”) and Kirkus (“Sullivan’s bile gives the story a definite grisly appeal.”). Canadians kings of the dark and desolate corners of fiction Michael Christie and Craig Davidson have blurbed it, and rumour has it a major Canadian literary talent with a slew of puny sorrows of her own will also be lending some credence to the jacket.
“WASTE is the unholy amalgam of Pollock’s The Devil All the Time, Selby’s Last Exit to Brooklyn, and the films of Harmony Korine. Andrew Sullivan has written a scorcher. This book is riotously alive, pulsing with bad intentions—and very very dangerous.”– Craig Davidson, author of Cataract City
The hits will keep on coming, too: a review and profile of Andrew will run in this weekend’s Toronto Star, a feature is slated for March’s Quill & Quire, and Broken Pencil will be running an author Q&A in April. This is definitely one to get in on the ground with because readers will be asking for it!
Waste by Andrew F. Sullivan
PB | $22.50 | March 26, 2015