Reproduction tells a crooked love story in which love takes strange, winding paths and grows in a context shaped by community, family, longstanding friendships, and fleeting interactions that leave their mark on us forever.
Felicia, a nineteen-year-old student from a West Indian family, and Edgar, the lazy-minded and impetuous heir of a wealthy German family, meet by chance when their ailing mothers are assigned the same hospital room. After the death of Felicia’s mother and the recovery of Edgar’s, Felicia drops out of high-school and takes a job as caregiver to Edgar’s mother. The odd-couple relationship between Edgar and Felicia, ripe with miscommunications, misunderstandings, and reprisals for perceived and real offenses, has some unexpected results.
Years later, Felicia’s son Armistice—“Army” for short—is a teenager fixated on a variety of get-rich-quick schemes that are as comic as they are indicative of the immigrant son’s fear of falling through the cracks. When Edgar re-enters Felicia’s life at a typically (for him) inopportune moment, the book’s exhilarating final act is set in the motion and the full import of its title is revealed.
“This gorgeous novel vibrates with life…Stylistically inventive and narratively compelling, Reproduction is stunning.”—Aminatta Forna, author of The Memory of Love
“One of the most energetic, lively, funny, and sad novels of the year.”—Quill & Quire, Book of the Year
“Williams’s unsparing view on the past’s repetition is heartrending. This ambitious experiment yields worthwhile results.”—Publishers Weekly
“Witty, playful, and disarmingly offbeat—even as it hums with serious themes.”—The Toronto Star
“Polyphonic and big-hearted.”—Electric Literature
“A family saga like no other, with vivid characters and spectacular narrative twists . . . What makes it all work is Williams’s exquisite writing and his willingness to take risk with form. This is a fresh and exciting literary voice.”—NOW Toronto, Book of the Year
“Both funny and poignant, powerful and playful.”—The Calgary Herald
“Reproduction is an inventive and tender portrait of family life in all its forms.”—Rabble
“Reproduction’s genius is its weaponized empathy, the precision-etched intensity of Williams’ gritty, witty, wholly unsentimental exploration of the collision of human hearts and the messy aftermath.”—Eden Robinson, author of Monkey Beach and Son of a Trickster
“Reminiscent of Miriam Toews’s novel All My Puny Sorrows in its balance between grief and humour.”—Quill & Quire
“Williams’s compassion for his characters transforms them from ordinary beings into uncommon souls. We know these people: their flaws, their foibles and their fuck ups. We recognize them because we share the same vagaries of living, wherever we are born.”—Aminatta Forna, author of The Memory of Love
“The startling brilliance of Ian Williams stems from his restlessness with form. His ceaseless creativity in sussing out the right patterning of story, the right vernacular nuance, the right diagram and deftly dropped reference—all in service of vividly illuminating the intermingled comedy and trauma of family.”—David Chariandy, author of Brother
“Reproduction is a brilliant modernist symphony, a truly unique blend of character, voice, sound, and style that shows the many different ways family can be made, and what the concept of family actually means in diverse contexts. A surprising, intriguing, and moving novel by a proven talent.”—Marion Abbott, Mrs. Dalloway's Bookstore, Berkeley CA
“A daring and funny intergenerational family saga . . . Williams, a poet, brings a thrilling linguistic verve to this already-gripping story, and his restless experimental prose makes Reproduction fly off the page.”—Danny Caine, Raven Bookstore, Lawrence KS
Ian Williams’ debut novel Reproduction won the 2019 Scotiabank Giller Prize and his debut nonfiction work, Disorientation, was a finalist for the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Award. His poetry collection, Personals, was shortlisted for the Griffin Poetry Prize and his new collection, Word Problems, won the Raymond Souster Award. His short story collection, Not Anyone’s Anything, won the Danuta Gleed Literary Award and his first book, You Know Who You Are, was a finalist for the ReLit Poetry Prize. He is a trustee for the Griffin Poetry Prize and was recently inducted into the City of Brampton Arts Walk of Fame. A tenured professor of English at the University of Toronto, Williams will be the Visiting Fellow at the American Library in Paris in 2022.