The Figgs by Ali Bryan

The Figgs

by Ali Bryan

May 1, 2018
5.5 x 8.5, paper, 300 pages
CDN/US $21.95

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Longlisted for the 2019 Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour


A hilarious portrait of a modern, mostly happy family, in all its glorious messiness.

Meet the Figgs. June, the family’s matriarch, looks forward to a quiet retirement — if only she can get her three adult children to finally, finally, move out of the house. But her dreams are shattered when her son Derek unexpectedly becomes a single father. Now there’s a newborn baby at home, and Derek’s siblings are showing no sign of going anywhere either. In the midst of the chaos, June’s husband, Randy, has a shocking revelation.

With family life flying fast and furious around her, June finds herself thinking about her parents — adoptive and biological. Where did she come from? Will her new grandson be traumatized without his mother? And why in the world are all the kids still at home, anyway?

The Figgs combines the quirkiness of Miriam Toews, the startling humour and fierce energy of Heather O’Neill, the heart of Little Miss Sunshine, and the unruly family dynamics of Jonathan Tropper’s This Is Where I Leave You into one hilarious, immensely fun novel.

Advance Praise for The Figgs

“Full confession: I want to be one of the Figgs. Ali Bryan’s eponymous family is chaotic, messy, imperfect, and a little out of control — but they’re also big-hearted and quirky, hilarious and real. With a deft hand, Bryan manages to wrangle her characters into a story that is fast-paced and wry, full of unexpected twists, surprising insights, and crackling dialogue.The story might be unpredictable, but Bryan’s ability as a storyteller is not — you can count on the Figgs (the family) to be there for one another, and you can count on The Figgs (the novel) to delight you.” – Amy Jones, author of We’re All in This Together

“In The Figgs, Ali Bryan takes us to bedlam and back in a story that grips you from the start and never lets go. With equal parts humour and heart, a masterful storyteller explores the meaning of love and family in complicated and challenging times. Extraordinary.” – Terry Fallis, two-time winner of the Leacock Medal for Humour

“Modern mayhem at its finest, The Figgs dives into the comical and profound challenges of family life. Tackling enablement, empowerment, and the sticky bonds of love, this is a soaring read with both sarcasm and soul.” – Cassie Stocks, winner of the Leacock Medal for Dance, Gladys, Dance

“There’s something wonderfully raw and new here. Ali Bryan gets it… family, friends, relationships, and the ups and downs that make us human. She filters it through a lens that’s a rare treat for a reader to look through.” Bradley Somer, author of Fishbowl

Reviews/Interviews for The Figgs

“The Figgs invokes spirit of screwball comedy,” Edmonton Prime Times, October 2018.

“Ali Bryan does a deft job of painting the human charm of the family. . . . Don’t be surprised if this gets a Stephen Leacock nomination.” — Alberta Views, October 2018.

Interview with Ali Bryan, All Lit Up, August 2018. “After Roost, I vowed to never write another novel without an outline because of the lengthy editing process. That lasted for about a paragraph.”

Interview with Ali Bryan, Prairie books now, Spring/Summer 2018. “The humour is hands down the easiest and most enjoyable part of my writing process. It feels the most natural. If it feels even the slightest like I was trying to be funny, it won’t be funny. So many times I’ve done a reading and I get to a part that I find particularly amusing and no one will even crack a smile, and then I’ll read another passage that I don’t even think is funny, and people are laugh-crying. It’s the best part of what I do.”

Interview on the CBC Homestretch, May 8, 2018.

“The Figgs are going through some hardships for sure. But they are largely relatable ones to anyone who has been a part of family. As with Roost — which told the story of a grieving single mom who attempts to change her life — The Figgs tackles some heavy topics with a light touch and a good deal of comedy.” — Calgary Herald, May 5, 2018.

“In this funny and endearing story written by Calgary-based author Ali Bryan, the Figg family navigates rebellious teens, unexpected pregnancy, aging, adoption and more with humour, wit and (occasional) grace. The memorable characters and non-stop shenanigans keep the pages turning.” — Where Calgary, May/June 2018.

Praise for Ali Bryan

Roost is hilarious . . . The details — of setting, of interaction, of the endless tumult of family life — are spot on.” — National Post

“It’s in subverting the myths of motherhood that Bryan delights . . . [an] edgy mingling of humour and pathos.” — Chronicle Herald

“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.” — The Winnipeg Review