From the Archive: Adrift by Loren Edizel

January 29, 2015

Adrift (TSAR Publications, 2011) is a novel of the modern condition, written by Loren Edizel. Set in the Montreal neighbourhood of Carré St-Louis, the story unfolds through narrative connections: connections between characters, places, dreams, and reality. Weaving between reality and fantasy, skirting around the city blocks to meandering in and out of characters’ minds, Adrift reveals that even the loneliest and desperate of lives is rich and connected to others in the most startling of ways.

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Adrift (TSAR Publications, 2011) is a novel of the modern condition, written by Loren Edizel. Set in the Montreal neighbourhood of Carré St-Louis, the story unfolds through narrative connections: connections between characters, places, dreams, and reality. Weaving between reality and fantasy, skirting around the city blocks to meandering in and out of characters’ minds, Adrift reveals that even the loneliest and desperate of lives is rich and connected to others in the most startling of ways.

Loren Edizel was born in Izmir, Turkey and has lived in Canada for most of her life. She discusses what it was like, trying to publish her novel for the first time: "Getting a first book published is maybe like having a first baby. You have no clue what you’re doing, even though you want to do all the right things.  While I was doing all this increasingly frustrating work to get that one published, I continued writing, another novel, some short stories.  One of them, 'The Imam’s Daughter,' got published by Montreal Serai in 2010 and that somehow led me to TSAR Publications. To my great pleasure they published both my novels, Adrift first and The Ghosts of Smyrna afterwards" ( Montreal Serai, 2014).

Likened to a Haruki Murakami novel by Maple Tree Literary Supplement, Adrift "mixes the spectacular with the mundane to highlight the wondrous qualities of ordinary reality." Edizel’s novel is a surrealist take on reality. With absurd, often unbelievable coincidences and chance encounters, there’s no mistaking this for a novel as realism. It’s a story of interconnectedness and of seeming randomness, but each encounter is deliberate and thoughtfully placed. Adrift blurs the boundaries between reality and fantasy to the point where even the narrator, John, must incredulously observe the world around him: "I thought I made it up... but it’s real"(43). His dreams, his writing become a reality. He wills them into existence simply by imagining them.

The story’s protagonist lies in the centre of all this strangeness. John is a character of mystery. No one, not even the reader, gets to know who he really is. He is a facet of the story, there to enhance this dreamlike world that he inhabits. John is a part of the story’s commentary, distanced from reality, but he is central to the web of connection between the characters. He inhabits a very small world where one’s actions and motivations influence and affect the others in the web. John’s story observes life, centring on what it’s like to be lonely in a world full of people. It speaks to the human condition: love, loss, motivations, and simply being.

Mawenzi House (formerly TSAR Publications) publisher Nurjehan Aziz remembers first receiving Adrift: "The author, Loren Edizel, sent the manuscript by mail. We were immediately drawn in, the characters' lives intersecting with one another, all lonely and far away from their home countries. The book shows, all within a Canadian setting, how even the simplest and most humdrum of lives harbours the complexities of the human mind and exotic, lost worlds outside. This novel is also an evocation of the typical downtown Montreal of modern exiles, which we ourselves first experienced when we came to Canada!"

Adrift, much like Loren’s 2013 novel The Ghosts of Smyrna (TSAR Publications, 2013), reflects on society and the interactions of a community: family, neighbours, friends, and acquaintances alike. Adrift was longlisted for the 2012 ReLit Awards. Loren’s short story "The Conch," appeared in Turkish translation as part of an anthology entitled Ismir in Women’s Stories (2009) and Confessions, her book of short stories was published in late 2014. Loren lives in Toronto and continues to make a significant contribution to Canadian literature community.

*****

Thanks so much to TSAR Publications – now Mawenzi House – especially Jaaron, for sharing Adrift with us.


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