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Dominique Scali is an author and journalist who is nostalgic for bygone eras she can experience only in her imagination. Her novel, À la recherche de New Babylon (La Peuplade, 2015; to be published as In Search of New Babylon in English by Talonbooks), won the First Novel Award at the twenty-ninth Festival du Premier Roman, held in Chambéry, France (2016). It was also a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Awards (2015), the Grand Prix du livre de Montréal (2015), and the Prix des libraires du Québec (2016).
October 2017 : A GG nomination for In Search of New Babylon!
March 2017 : New books for spring! Poetry, fiction, and drama
BOOK AWARDSIn Search of New Babylon
Winner, First Novel Award in Chambéry, France (2015)
Finalist, Governor General’s Literary Award (2015)
Finalist, Grand Prix du livre de Montréal (2015)
Finalist, Prix des libraires du Québec (2015)”
QUOTES OF NOTEIn Search of New Babylon
“The story is tightly woven and executed with masterful shifts in chronology and narrative focus. The characters are quirky and compelling. The language of W. Donald Wilson’s translation sings with rich detail. Short, staccato-like chapters propel the story forward with the pacing of good television. This is in no way meant as an insult – seamless storytelling is difficult to achieve, and Scali accomplishes that with virtuosity in this novel.”
—Montreal Review of Books
“Unlike classic western writers such as Louis L’Amour or the contemporary Cormac McCarthy, Scali departs from the traditional style of depicting humanity bringing order to a lawless land. Instead, she positions the people who flocked to the frontier as speculators out to exploit any natural resources or vulnerable people they could find. However, while her characters are morally flawed, they are mostly sympathetic, sometimes even likeable.”
—Winnipeg Free Press
“[An] exceptional piece of historical fiction … In Search of New Babylon could easily have been written originally in English; the wry humour, stark prose, and rolling cadence are superbly captured. … In Search of New Babylon is incredibly fun and impossible to put down. Scali has successfully taken a piece of American history and woven it into a wholly unique Quebec Western, one that truly reflects Scali’s own relationship with and interpretation of the genre. From this perspective, Wilson’s translation can be seen as an act of retranslation; by rendering the novel in English, he has relocated the story and, in a sense, returned it to its origins.”
“Like Guy Vanderhaeghe’s The Englishman’s Boy, Patrick DeWitt’s The Sisters Brothers, or Sean Johnston’s Listen All You Bullets, Scali continues the trend of contemporary Canadian Westerns with [her] own foray into the Wild West of the American frontier after the Civil War. … descriptions are accompanied by sparse, wry dialogue and jumps in time that slowly reveal the ultimate fates of the characters … Scali has written a new type of Western that … keeps you enthralled with characters whose true selves always seem just out of reach to the reader. In Search of New Babylon is an entertaining and well-crafted read for Western and CanLit fans alike.”
“Scali’s In Search of New Babylon gives us a vast swath of America during the mid-nineteenth century – ‘right in the middle of hell.’ … The novel succeeds as a Western. It has a vast number of the cues, reshuffled perhaps, but with enough rugged individualism, or maybe just anti-collectivism of any and all sorts, and a gruffness to clearly operate within the genre. … On the terrain the novel builds for itself, it comes off masterfully, in sharp, terse prose and compelling movement. For a work so concerned with repetition, it remains marvelously paced …”
“This book will knock all the goddamn polish off your teeth.”
—Ross Ufberg (on Twitter)
We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts; the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund (CBF); and the Province of British Columbia through the British Columbia Arts Council for our publishing activities.