Winner of the W.O. Mitchell Book Prize
Winner of the 2012 Relit Award for Best Novel
Longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize
Shortlisted for the Ferro-Grumley Award for LGBT Fiction
Shortlisted for the Alberta Literary Award for Best Fiction
A Globe and Mail Best Novel of 2011
A seventeen-year-old boy, bullied and heartbroken, hangs himself. And although he felt terribly alone, his suicide changes everyone around him.
His parents are devastated. His secret boyfriend's girlfriend is relieved. His unicorn- and virginity-obsessed classmate, Faraday, is shattered; she wishes she had made friends with him that time she sold him an Iced Cappuccino at Tim Hortons. His English teacher, mid-divorce and mid-menopause, wishes she could remember the dead student's name, that she could care more about her students than her ex's new girlfriend. Who happens to be her cousin. The school guidance counsellor, Walter, feels guilty – maybe he should have made an effort when the kid asked for help. Max, the principal, is worried about how it will reflect on the very Catholic school. And Walter, who's been secretly in a relationship with Max for years, thinks that's a little callous. He’s also tired of Max's obsession with some sci-fi show on TV. And Max wishes Walter would lose some weight and remember to use a coaster.
And then Max meets a drag queen named Crepe Suzette. And everything changes.
Monoceros is a masterpiece of the tragicomic; by exploring the effects of a suicide on characters outside the immediate circle, Mayr offers a dazzlingly original look at the ripple effects – both poignant and funny – of a tragedy. A tender, bold work.
'Spellbinding and playful . .. A stylistic tour de force. '
– National Post
'Monoceros is one of the most imaginative, quirky and emotionally devastating novels I've read in a long while. '
– Zoe Whittall, Globe and Mail
'[A] smart and difficult tale about grief and acceptance … [Monoceros] just might be the most important book you read. '
– CBC Books
'In a tragedy laced with humour, Mayr engages readers with her meticulous attention to detail, providing vivid descriptions of not only her characters, but also the heavy emotions … churning inside them. '
– This Magazine
'[A] complex and moving novel deserving of a large and attentive readership. '
– Quill & Quire
'Ms. Mayr's characterizations are second to none and she has a wonderful wit. [Monoceros] should be on all school curricula. '
– Winnipeg Review