by Ian Williams · read July 9, 2020
I was really impressed with this novel, which was both structurally creative and emotionally enthralling. The way that Williams played with form within the book definitely enhanced the narrative for me, especially the exponentially fragmented narrative in Part 3 and the 'cancerous' invasion of Felicia and Edgar's first meeting in Part 4. Shielding the identity of the characters at times, either through omission or alternate terminology, reinforced the universality of certain family experiences. I also personally enjoyed that it was set in Toronto and Brampton.
What particularly struck me about the characters was the influence of power on the many relationships in the book and how realistic it made those relationships seem. There was a clear chord throughout the story of the male characters either exerting power over the female characters or wrapped up in their own pursuit of money, status, sex, and authority at the expense of others. This focus was paired with an emphasis on care-giving and what it means to provide for one another, which are equally relevant to family dynamics and perhaps provide a more generous view into the inner workings of our families of blood and choice.
Reproduction mixed light elements of drama and humor with heavier scenes of loss, harm, and grief to produce an insightful, enjoyable examination of family relationships.