|From The Publisher*|
An urgent first novel about breaching the prisons we live inside from one of Canada's most daring literary talents.
An unnamed narrator abandons his unfinished thesis and returns to northern Alberta in search of what eludes him: the shape of the novel he yearns to write, an autobiography of his rural hometown, the answers to existential questions about family, love, and happiness.
What ensues is a series of conversations, connections, and disconnections that reveals the texture of life in a town literature has left unexplored, where the friction between possibility and constraint provides an insistent background score.
Whether he's meeting with an auntie distraught over the imprisonment of her grandson, engaging in rez gossip with his cousin at a pow wow, or lingering in bed with a married man after a hotel room hookup, the narrator makes space for those in his orbit to divulge their private joys and miseries, testing the theory that storytelling can make us feel less lonely.
Populated by characters as alive and vast as the boreal forest, and culminating in a breathtaking crescendo, A Minor Chorus is a novel about how deeply entangled the sayable and unsayable can become-and about how ordinary life, when pressed, can produce hauntingly beautiful music.
"No one breaks your heart as elegantly as Billy-Ray Belcourt. Innovative, intimate, and meticulous, A Minor Chorus is a thoughtful riot of intersections and juxtapositions, a congregation of keenly observed laments gently vivisecting the small, Northern Alberta community at its core."
-Eden Robinson, author of Son of a Trickster
"The literary child of Rachel Cusk's Outline trilogy and James Baldwin's Giovanni's Room, this novel builds on both, and is yet still something so new. It has the guts to centre Indigenous queer life as worthy of serious intellectual and artistic inquiry-which, of course, it always has been. We will be reading and re-reading and learning from A Minor Chorus for decades to come."
-Alicia Elliott, author of A Mind Spread Out on the Ground
"An absolutely dazzling confluence of big ideas and raw emotions, told in Billy-Ray Belcourt's singular poetic voice. A Minor Chorus is about loving, questioning, and fighting for your life, and it's as compelling a debut novel as I've read in years."
-Jami Attenberg, author of I Came All This Way to Meet You
"A truly exceptional novel about how the disregarded sometimes live the most remarkable lives, and how storytelling will redeem us somehow, make us less lonely. A Minor Chorus is like a song that's over too soon; I want to play it on repeat, to memorize the words so that I can sing them to myself."
-Katherena Vermette, author of The Strangers
"Poet Billy-Ray Belcourt's first novel is, unsurprisingly, a genre-defying masterpiece . . . . This book is unlike anything else I've ever read: it's academic and anti-academic, full of poetry, longing, theory, and philosophy."
BILLY-RAY BELCOURT (he/him) is a writer from the Driftpile Cree Nation. He won the 2018 Griffin Poetry Prize for his debut collection, This Wound Is a World, which was also a finalist for the Governor General's Literary Award. His bestselling memoir, A History of My Brief Body, won the Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize and was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award and the Governor General's Literary Award. A recipient of the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship and an Indspire Award, Belcourt is Assistant Professor of Indigenous Creative Writing at UBC.