Radio·Bedside Books

The Dears' keyboardist Natalia Yanchak on the far-out yet resonant novel The End, by Anna

Natalia Yanchak reviews A. Light Zachary's small but mighty novel.
Natalia Yanchak is a member of the Montreal-based band The Dears. (Natalia Yanchak/Metatron)

The Dears is an indie pop band from Montreal, led by a husband and wife duo: singer and guitarist Murray Lightburn and keyboardist Natalia Yanchak.

Yanchak recently read A. Light Zachary's 2016 novel The End, by Anna.

Underestimating a book by its cover

"It's written like a biography by Anna's friend. Anna is a performance artist and she decides that in her body of work she would like to stage her ultimate masterpiece called 'The End,' where she is flown to a remote region of the Tundra and left there with a tripod to record audio and video. She is not allowed to leave the camera's field of vision and she is to stay there until she dies.

"I'm more of a science fiction fan and rarely read outside of the genre. I picked this book up and said, 'Oh, this is not intimidating — cute little book. I'm going to check it out.' I was totally surprised. I couldn't put it down. I wanted to keep reading to find out what happens."

Drawing parallels

"Anna's friends are trying to convince her to not perform this ultimate installation. She's motivated by art, to create the most shocking piece of art. It's tragic. I respect the book, but I don't know if I respect the idea of wanting to kill yourself for your art. As an artist with social media, I understand that so much of what we do is about promotion and so much focus is not on the art. I can relate with this desire to connect with an audience. But the question is, 'What is it going to take to do that?'"

Natalia Yanchak's comments have been edited and condensed.