The 1990s, in many ways, were a simpler time: stirrup pants, Fido Dido, McPizza. And yet, they were also the time of the teenage years of Delia Ellis, the protagonist of today’s First Fiction Friday feature, novel And the Walls Came Down by Denise Da Costa (Dundurn Press). Read more about this dual-timeline debut novel set in the former east-end Toronto neighbourhood of Don Mount Court.
What:And the Walls Came Down (Dundurn Press, 2023)Who:Denise Da Costa is a Canadian poet, novelist, and essayist whose work is featured in Subdivided: City Building in an Age of Hyper Diversity. She is an alumnus of the Humber School of Writers and 2017 Diaspora Dialogues program. Before earning her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from York University, she studied graphic design and paints in her spare time. She lives in St. Catharines, Ontario.Why you need to read this now:Back in the low-income neighbourhood where Delia was raised, And the Walls Came Down by Denise Da Costa is about a young woman who rediscovers the importance of community, home, and finding one’s voice. Told in alternating perspectives of the past and present, Delia begins to reread the diary she kept from her teenage years and rediscovers the nostalgia of growing up in the late nineties while also uncovering misplaced notions she had about her parents’ life and marriage.Throughout the story, you learn about Delia’s budding feelings for a neighbour in the same housing complex, her complicated relationship with her overprotective Jamaican mother, and her need to grow up too quickly to care for her younger sister.This beautifully written debut will make you nostalgic for your own teenage days!X + Y:Scarborough meets Brother in this coming-of-age story set in Toronto’s former east-end neighbourhood, Don Mount Court.