This month on The Chat we’re back with an interview with award-winning author Michael Christie, whose book If I Fall, If I Die created well-deserved buzz on both sides of the border when it was released in 2015.
If I Fall, If I Die tells the story of Will, a young boy living with his agoraphobic mother in Thunder Bay. As the novel opens, Will ventures forth outside his home for the first time. Through an artistic outsider, Will is introduced to the world of skateboarding and gradually pulled outside the confines of his small world.
The Star calls the novel “A sort of Alice in Wonderland in reverse, where a kid from a place where fantasy reigns clambers out of his rabbit hole and emerges, awestruck, into the real world.”
If I Fall, If I Die was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and was selected as a New York Times Editors' Choice. Michael's previous collection of short stories, The Beggar's Garden, was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, was a finalist for the Writers' Trust Prize for Fiction, and won the Vancouver Book Award. H …
Drip, drip, drip ... Canada is beginning to thaw, and with a new season bursting out, we need new books to celebrate. Thankfully, independent bookstores across the country are here to help. This month, we have five booksellers (including a new addition to the Shelf Talkers’ roster!) with five personal recommendations.
The Bookseller: Lee Trentadue, Galiano Island Books (Galiano Island, BC)
The Pick: If I Fall If I Die, Michael Christie
Michael Christie's first novel, If I Fall If I Die, is an exquisite portrayal of lives lived on the "Inside" by those suffering from confronting the dangers of the "Outside." Diane, the mom in the novel, suffers from extreme agoraphobia, and Michael knows of what he writes; his own boyhood was marred by similar suffering—his own mother also had agoraphobia, though not as extreme as Diane's. This story is so human at its core and Diane, Will, and all the characters in the novel are so well drawn. The setting of Thunder Bay, where Michael spent time as a youth, offers a setting where Will can flex his growing need for independence and freedom from his mother's extreme fears.
This is a novel that has wide appeal: who among us has not at one time or another experienced the deep need for safety, for the "inside" when the world thro …