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In Search of New Babylon
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Monday January 16, 2017 in Books

In Search of New Babylon

By Dominique Scali
Translated by W. Donald Wilson

In this atmospheric, post–Cormac McCarthy western novel, four disparate characters criss-cross the desert in pursuit of an impossible ideal. Along the way, these wily characters captivate and intrigue as they seek the American dream in a lawless town in the 1860s.

Reverend Aaron is found lying unconscious on the dusty trail to a family farm somewhere in southern Utah. His hands have been severed at the wrists. On the body are only a few Bibles and sermons. Is he a preacher or a thief?

It’s impossible to say who this stranger might be without understanding those who have brought him to this desert town: Charles Teasdale, a saloon pugilist who hangs himself despite having escaped the noose nine times; Pearl Guthrie, a young saloon girl who marries the same man thirty times over; Russian Bill, an aristocrat turned rustler after killing a hundred innocent men; and an assortment of mercenaries who live on the fringe of mining towns in the American Southwest, where anything and everything is available, except what you are looking for.

All the main characters in this novel are invented, except one. All the towns are real, except for New Babylon. But if such a place were to be imagined, it would be a Wild West town where gunfights are fair play and the law bans only the lawman. It is a perilous place, where the beauty of the desert landscape takes your breath away with the same power as an open blade and a gash to the throat.


Read excerpts from In Search of New Babylon on Meta-Talon.

ISBN 13: 9781772011241 | ISBN 10: N/A
5.5 W x 8.5 H inches | 336 pages
$19.95 CAN / $16.95 US
Rights: World
Fiction | Backlist
Paperback Edition

QUOTES OF NOTE

“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.”
Prairie Fire

“This book will knock all the goddamn polish off your teeth.”
—Ross Ufberg (tweet)

AWARDS

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)

About the Contributors

Dominique Scali

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).

W. Donald Wilson

W. Donald Wilson has taught at universities in the West Indies, the United Kingdom, and at the University of Waterloo. In 2011 and 2013, two of Wilson’s translations were long-listed for the Best Translated Book Award in the United States, and in 2013 he was a finalist for the French-American Foundation translation prize.

[cover of In Search of New Babylon]
In Search of New Babylon

Dominique Scali
Translated by W. Donald Wilson
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