The Next Chapter·Dog-Eared Reads

Pasha Malla loves the humour and pathos of this classic 20th century novel

The Toronto novelist is re-reading Jakob von Gunten by Robert Walser.
Pasha Malla is a Toronto-based author. (NYRB Classics, Penguin Random House Canada)

Pasha Malla was born in St. John's, grew up in London, Ont. and now lives in Toronto. Malla's first book, the short story collection The Withdrawal Method, was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Prize and longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. His first novel, People Park, was a finalist for the Amazon Canada First Novel Award. His latest is the novel Kill the Mall.

When he's not writing, he's reading. A book he turns to, time and time again, is the classic novel Jakob von Gunten by Robert Walser.

"What I love about this book is the narrator. I love his innocence, his naivete, his unfailing trust in humanity and his sad need for connection. 

"The humour and the pathos in this book are so affecting, because no matter how hard he tries to connect with other people, he fails and he fails and he fails. 

I love his innocence, his naivete, his unfailing trust in humanity and his really sad need for connection.

"I feel like it is such a great representation of what it is to be a person."

Pasha Malla's comments have been edited for length and clarity.

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