Cover of Roost by Ali Bryan

Roost

by Ali Bryan

April 1, 2013
5.5 x 8.5 paper 256 pages
978-1-55481-137-3
CDN $21.95 US $21.95
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Winner of the 2014 Georges Bugnet Award for Fiction
Selected for One Book Nova Scotia 2014
Shortlisted for the 2014 Alberta Trade Fiction Book of the Year
Longlisted for the 2014 Alberta Readers’ Choice Award

Claudia, single mother of two young children, pines for her past independent life. Her ex, after all, has moved on to a new wardrobe, a new penchant for lattes—new adult friends. But in Claudia’s house she’s still finding bananas in the sock drawer, cigarettes taped to wrestling figures, and doodles on her MasterCard bills. Then Claudia receives the unexpected news that her mother has died.

As Claudia attempts to gain control of her life, she realizes that her fellow family members also struggle with uncertainty. Her brother’s family appears picture perfect—the children always clean, the puzzles never missing pieces—but he and his wife hunger for a break from parenthood. Her father has joined a curling team and seems to be active in the community. Yet he orders product after as-seen-on-tv product for his own empty nest.

Shared through the hilarious, honest, and often poignant perspective of a single mother, Roost is the story of a woman learning about motherhood while grieving the loss of her own mother. And as she begins to mend, she’s also learning that she might be able to accept her home—as it is.

“Ali Bryan works in that magical space between hilarity and humiliation. Roost is about the family tragedies we all face, with courage and cowardice and warmth and malice. This novel is marvellous, terrible fun.” – Todd Babiak, author of The Garneau Block and Toby: A Man

“Does every family need a daughter to do the emotional heavy-lifting? Irreverent and dead-on about the absurdities of motherhood and family, Claudia seems an unlikely fit for the role and fights it every messy inch of the way. Ali Bryan writes the tenderness and pathos of family life with the wise-cracking finesse of a stand-up comedienne. Roost is laugh-out-loud funny—a refreshing CanLit debut.” – Betty Jane Hegerat, author of The Boy and Delivery

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REVIEWS AND INTERVIEWS

Interview with Writer’s Block, CJSW 90.9 FM, May 2015.

“Bryan’s strength, like Lisa Moore’s or Katrina Onstad’s, lies in her ability to heighten the mundane… This domestic fiction is far from comfortable or banal. Instead Roost is edgy.” — Will Smith, The Bull Calf ReviewSeptember 2014.

“A moving story of grief and recovery, but also a smart, funny, finely observant novel about the always messy, sometimes exhilarating weirdness that we call ordinary life. . . . The novel unfolds in an honest, funny and wholly original manner, and we are caught up in the characters and in Bryan’s fresh approach to narrative.” — Jury comments, Georges Bugnet Award for Fiction

“A light, fast read, but there’s something about it that captures the humour, darkness and realness of life… It’s a bold, refreshing read.” — Alexis Kienlen, Daily Herald-TribuneSeptember 26, 2013.

“I loved how present the children are. I often find that children are seen and not heard in literature, but anyone who’s had children knows that they are everywhere – their voices, their messes, their routines and habits that must be observed. Roost is not about the children, really, but they are always in the picture.” — Laura Frey, Reading in BedAugust 24, 2013.

“It’s in subverting the myths of motherhood that Bryan delights.” — Carol Bruneau, Halifax Chronicle HeraldJuly 26, 2013.

“In the vein of hip, modern mothers like Kelly Oxford, Bryan mines the experiences of Claudia’s children for humour… Little Joan is the funniest character, a defiant toddler who insists on dressing up for Halloween as a ‘cat squirrel.'” — Alison Broverman, Quill and QuireJune 2013.

“Bryan’s dialogue and character interaction are so spot on, and the rare occasion where she does take the chance and delves beneath the super funny surface of asshole-dom, she is dazzling.” — Lee Kvern, The Winnipeg ReviewJune 3, 2013.

“Your Head is Not a Facebook Page,” Interview with Maurice Miereau, The Winnipeg Review, June 3, 2013.

TV interview with FPTV Canada, May 10, 2013 (story in Portuguese, interview in English).

“[Roost] is earning rave reviews for its humourous and realistic take on parenting and the challenges that come with it.” — Katie Tower, Sackville Tribune-Post, May 8, 2013.

“Ali Bryan is amazing at taking those awkward family moments we all have had and writing a hilarious, yet heart warming, look at what it means to be a family… It’s one of those books that is so authentic that it you believe that this is a real person, a real family.” — Amy Jo Espetveidt, Calgary is AwesomeApril 26, 2013.

“The real miracle of Roost is that the comedy springs naturally from some dark places: mourning, exhaustion, the yearning to escape motherhood and the guilt that follows.” — Eric Volmers, Calgary HeraldApril 13, 2013.

“Roost is hilarious… The details — of setting, of interaction, of the endless tumult of family life — are spot-on. It’s easy to underrate both the comedic and domestic spheres, but Bryan’s domestic comedy, laced with grief, unearths the complexities of the daily grind.” — Sue Sinclair, National PostApril 12, 2013.

“[Ali Bryan]  is an amusing writer who has mastered the voice of the self-deprecating female, amusing without being annoying.” — Sarah Murdoch, Toronto StarApril 7, 2013.

“Pitch and Plug with Ali Bryan,” Salty InkApril 3, 2013.

“Ali Bryan’s first novel is a domestic comedy with a tragic heart… Where Bryan shines is in the little details of life—the dialogue is natural and cracks wise.” — Kate Wallace, The Telegraph-Journal, March 30, 2013.

“A book that is as funny as it is smart… Ali Bryan gets it right in Roost.” — Kerry Clare, Pickle Me ThisMarch 21, 2013.