A novel about a boy with a stutter, and the tangled barbs of repressed memory.
Montreal, 1979. A boy's speech starts to fracture along with the cement of le Stade olympique. Do they share a fault line? Daniel Allen Cox's unconventional fourth novel tells the story of a boy with a stutter who grows up and uses sound to remember the past. A coming-of-age tale that telescopes through time like an amnesiac memoir, Mouthquake finds its strange beat in subliminal messages hidden in skipping records, in the stutters of celebrities, and in the wisdom of The Grand Antonio, a suspicious mystic who helps the narrator unlock the secret to his speech. This is a loudly exclaimed book of innuendo, rumours, and the tangled barbs of repressed memory that asks: How do you handle a troubling past event that behaves like a barely audible whisper?
Written with a poetic bravado and in a structure that mimics a stutter, the elegiac Mouthquake is speech therapy for the bent: the signal is perverted and the sounds are thrilling.
Includes an afterword by Sarah Schulman, author of Rat Bohemia and The Gentrification of the Mind: Witness to a Lost Imagination.
"Art both tells and transforms life. And it is through the juxtaposition of evocative, surprising language with intellectual awareness and the sharing of open consciousness that this process is conveyed with soul as long as the form emerges from the emotional center of the work. Daniel finds these connections and innovations within himself, partially through commitment, partially through instinct. It's that thing we call talent. "
-Sarah Schulman, from the Afterword
In Mouthquake, Daniel ventures into the lions' den of language and unleashes his extraordinary stutter. The result, a shimmering, always surprising frottage of Montreal, has the queer wit of a Britten aria. -John Greyson, director of Zero Patience and Lilies
Mouthquake, the most vividly palpable Montreal novel in English since Mordecai Richler, puts the legend back in urban and the realism back in magic. Part queer amour fou and part personal demon-wrestling, this tall tale evokes like none other the delirious world of childhood subjectivity, Alice in Wonderland meets The Tin Drum meets The 400 Blows. Tectonically written, from pavement abjection and hallucinogenic dream life to the intensely lived-in body and space of an unforgettable narrator, Mouthquake demands to be read under sturdy furniture or on an open park bench. -Thomas Waugh, author of The Fruit Machine: Twenty Years of Writings on Queer Cinema
Daniel Allen Cox is a maestro of form-querying-queer. You think you have his number, you think he's in the bed beside you, but he's up, off, boldly probing. Our pleasure as readers is to keep pace with his intriguing corpus. In Mouthquake, Daniel mouths the music of memory as he dials us into the minutiae of stuttering. -Anakana Schofield, author of Malarky and Martin John
Cox's imagination is wild and expansive, yet even as he approaches the dark realms of William S Burroughs, the journey remains soulful and introspective. -Daily Xtra
A stylistically inventive novel that's difficult to categorize because it's fundamentally queer. There's queer as in odd and queer as in gay, and Mouthquake is both -- endearingly, Canadianly so. -The Globe and Mail
Daniel gives us not a coming-of-age but a contorting-of-age novel. Portraits of a childhood lifted by an eccentric strongman, teen years warped by post-punk and 80s pop music, and a young adulthood gorgeously twisted with queer desire. The writing is wrenchingly poetic with just the right amount of sleaze. So many unexpected moments . .. like
experiencing youth anew. -Amber Dawn, author of Sub Rosa and How Poetry Saved My Life
Cox's depiction of Montreal in the 1990s is surreal and dreamlike . .. Mouthquake is a compelling portrait of a queer young man and a city changing together. -Montreal Review of Books
Daniel Allen Cox's fourth novel is his most assured and accomplished to date . .. Cox unfolds his story in an almost hallucinatory way -- the finely tuned, hypnotic sentences tumbling along through sensory impressions . .. Mouthquake is a moving, poetic ride that defies expectation but keeps the reader grounded for its duration. -Zoe Whittall, Quill and Quire (STARRED REVIEW)