Books·Canadian

Monoceros

Suzette Mayr's novel explores the impact of a gay teenager's suicide on his family and his Catholic school community.

Suzette Mayr

A seventeen-year-old boy, bullied and heartbroken, hangs himself. And although he felt terribly alone, his suicide changes everyone around him.

His parents are devastated. His secret boyfriend's girlfriend is relieved. His unicorn- and virginity-obsessed classmate, Faraday, is shattered; she wishes she had made friends with him that time she sold him an Iced Cappuccino at Tim Hortons. His English teacher, mid-divorce and mid-menopause, wishes she could remember the dead student's name, that she could care more about her students than her ex's new girlfriend. Who happens to be her cousin. The school guidance counsellor, Walter, feels guilty — maybe he should have made an effort when the kid asked for help. Max, the principal, is worried about how it will reflect on the very Catholic school. And Walter, who's been secretly in a relationship with Max for years, thinks that's a little callous. He's also tired of Max's obsession with some sci-fi show on TV. And Max wishes Walter would lose some weight and remember to use a coaster.

And then Max meets a drag queen named Crepe Suzette. And everything changes. (From Coach House Books)

From the book

Because u r a fag is scrawled in black Jiffy marker across his locker. Because after school last Thursday, the girlfriend of the guy he loves hurled frozen dog shit at him, and her friends frisbeed his skateboard into the river. Even though he stomped and cracked through the ice shelving the banks, waded in to rescue it — after the shouting and shoving, they're stronger than they look, all those girls with their cello-and violin-playing fingers, yanking him back by handfuls of coat, handfuls of hair, hooking with their elbows and digging with their fingernails as he scrambled after his skateboard — the banks too slippery and shattered with ice, the current too swift, the water too cold and deep and brown. Freezing river water up to his chest, the water and ice shards wicking into his armpits, scratching his heart. His black coat wet and sucking him down into the current. His skateboard buried in the river.


From Monoceros by Suzette Mayr ©2011. Published by Coach House Books.

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