There Has to Be a Knife
For readers of Brother by David Chariandy and Scarborough by Catherine Hernandez, Adnan Khan's blistering debut novel investigates themes of race, class, masculinity and contemporary relationships.
Omar Ali, twenty-seven-year-old line cook and petty criminal, gets a phone call from his ex-girlfriend's father at work, informing Omar that Anna has committed suicide. Unable to process or articulate his grief, and suffering from insomnia, Omar embarks on a quest to obtain her suicide note from her elusive parents. As he unravels, Omar finds himself getting involved in break-ins, online terrorism, dealing with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and losing his best friend as he becomes less recognizable.
There Has to Be a Knife examines expectations - both intimate and political - on brown men, exploring ideas of cultural identity and the tropes we use to represent them.
No one sleeps in Adnan Khan's propulsive novel of sex, Reddit, and precarity that brilliantly blends a critique of Canadian 'tolerance' with a raunchy paean to first love. -Tamara Faith Berger, author of Maidenhead and Queen Solomon
Like a sort of Notes from Underground for the hip-hop generation, Adnan Khan's darkly funny, compulsively readable, and deceptively moving first novel stares headlong into the struggles of its young characters and the harm they cause to others and themselves. In raw, streetwise vernacular, There Has to Be a Knife offers an acute study of toxic masculinity, of the ways in which unexpressed grief snarls through anomie into resentment and rage, and of the social scripts that exist for all of us - how we play our parts, and how we might also write our way into new stories. -Pasha Malla, author of Fugue States
Adnan Khan is a writer whose words and story carry heft. His voice is the one that many of us have been waiting for; we have suspected that such talent exists in this country - new, fresh, and weighty. There Has to Be a Knife is a must-read. -Lee Maracle, author of My Conversations with Canadians