In Search of New BabylonFront Cover
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    ISBN: 9781772011241 | Paperback

    320 pages | Pub. Date: 20170415
    5.5 W × 8.5 H × 1.25 D inches
    Backlist | Fiction | Bisac: FIC019000
    Rights: WORLD


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.

Winner 2015 Winner, First Novel Award in Chambéry

Short-listed 2015 Finalist, Governor General’s Literary Award (2015)

Short-listed 2015 Grand Prix du livre de Montréal

Short-listed 2015 Prix des libraires du Québec

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 …”—Full Stop

“Beautifully and compellingly written, these characters frequently transcend their fictional nineteenth-century context with pertinent insights about humanity’s seemingly insatiable desire for spectacle.” —Canadian Literature

"[An] exceptional piece of historical fiction … In Search of New Babylon could easily have been written originally in English." —Québec Reads

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

Translated by 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.

Read more about W. Donald Wilson

By 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).

Read more about Dominique Scali

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news | 2021-06-14
Five Father's Day Gift Ideas from Talonbooks

…to give fathers on Sunday, June 20, 2021: 1. In Search of New Babylon by Dominique Scali , translated by W. Donald …

news | 2017-10-04
A GG nomination for In Search of New Babylon!

In Search of New Babylon is a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary … by David Clerson, translated by Katia Grubisic In Search of New Babylon by Dominique Scali, translated by Donald Wilson …

news | 2017-06-07
Home again, home again after the convention circuit

…A. Reed and David Homel). Talon’s latest novel, In Search of New Babylon by Dominique Scali (translated by W. Donald …

news | 2017-03-27
New books for spring! Poetry, fiction, and drama

…meditative, intellectual, and playful poems. In Search of New Babylon is a gritty, postmodern, and just plain fun tale …