2018 UPDATE: COAST is presently unavailable, because I'm editing a collection of work that will become the new home for the novel.
COAST is a novel about four young adults and the day and a half they spend paddling Toronto’s shorelines after escaping a disastrous family reunion. The story is narrated by Alex, who meets his cousin Kate for the first time at the reunion, along with another cousin, and Kate’s best friend, Samantha. They abandon the reunion in a canoe-catamaran rigged with a sail and hammock bed that Alex’s twin sister Claire is fast asleep in, oblivious to the escape. Claire is enraged when she finds herself unwillingly trapped with Alex, Kate and Sam. Before they can deliver her to an airport in Toronto’s inner harbour, the urban canoe-trip leads the crew to a bonfire party, an Asian Night Market, into sleep deprivation and deep intoxication, and ultimately entangles them in a dragonboat festival, where romances and friendships are tested, and Alex and Claire find out if they can reconnect despite their equally isolating personalities. For a cast of reckless characters on the threshold of their twenties, the experience will decide much of what happens in the next chapters of their lives.
I wrote COAST after spending a decade experimenting with creative process, writing incessantly in notebook after notebook, ultimately developing a writing process that takes full advantage of the spontaneous and sometimes surprising passages that are born from pages of free-written prose. (More about the author)
Over the last year of work on the novel, 2015 to 2016, I photographed sequences of Toronto’s post-industrial shoreline, Billy Bishop airport and Dragonboat Festival – the settings for COAST – and created this animation from the images: