Mouth to Mouth
In a first-class lounge at JFK airport, our narrator listens as Jeff Cook, a former classmate he only vaguely remembers, shares the uncanny story of his adult life — a life that changed course years before, the moment he resuscitated a drowning man.
Jeff reveals that after that traumatic, galvanizing morning on the beach, he was compelled to learn more about the man whose life he had saved, convinced that their fates were now entwined. But are we agents of our fate — or are we its pawns? Upon discovering that the man is renowned art dealer Francis Arsenault, Jeff begins to surreptitiously visit his Beverly Hills gallery. Although Francis does not seem to recognize him as the man who saved his life, he nevertheless casts his legendary eye on Jeff and sees something worthy. He takes the younger man under his wing, initiating him into his world, where knowledge, taste, and access are currency; a world where value is constantly shifting and calling into question what is real, and what matters. The paths of the two men come together and diverge in dizzying ways until the novel's staggering ending.
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Antoine Wilson is a Canadian-American novelist, editor and short story writer born in Montreal and based in California. Wilson's work has appeared in The Paris Review, StoryQuarterly, Best New American Voices, and The Los Angeles Times. His novels include Panorama City and The Interloper; Mouth to Mouth, his third novel, was on the former U.S. president Barack Obama's summer reading list of his favourite books of 2022.
Mouth to Mouth is on the 2022 Scotiabank Giller Prize longlist.