The Next Chapter

Ian Williams on exploring the roots of love and family with novel Reproduction

The author and poet discusses why his debut novel had to look at the concept of love and the family unit.
Ian Williams is the author of Reproduction. (Sinisa Jolic, CBC)

For his debut novel, Reproduction, Ian Williams wanted to write a book that looks at how family ties are cultivated and invented. Set in Toronto, the book follows two people who could not be more ill-suited for each other, but meet, fall in love and build a family of sorts. 

The Brampton, Ont.-raised Williams dropped by The Next Chapter to discuss the nature of Reproduction

"Reproduction starts off with a man and a woman Felicia and Edgar who meet in a hospital room as their mothers are dying. They're thrown together by this unfortunate circumstance and they bond very quickly over that first night. They divulge things to each other as if they're confidants and intimates.

"Then the novel follows them for 40 years or so as they move in and out of each other's lives. He's not a very good man, and she has her flaws as well. But they are important and necessary to each other at a certain point in their lives. That kindness carries forward almost to the end.

"But it's also a novel about family and how families are formed. Sometimes we inherit our families and sometimes we choose our families. They evolve over time. I've managed to capture just the nuances of family and the strange dialogue that families have with each other over decades."

Ian Williams's comments have been edited for length and clarity.