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There Has to Be a Knife

3.47  ·  Rating details ·  60 ratings  ·  13 reviews
In this blistering debut novel, author Adnan Khan investigates themes of race, class, masculinity and contemporary relationships. Omar Ali, twenty-seven-year-old line cook and petty criminal, gets a phone call from his ex-girlfriend's father at work, informing Omar that Anna has committed suicide. Unable to process or articulate his grief, and suffering from insomnia, Omar ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published October 8th 2019 by Arsenal Pulp Press
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Average rating 3.47  · 
Rating details
 ·  60 ratings  ·  13 reviews

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Pam's Shenanigans
Not for me. DNFed at 60%. I wanted so bad to finish this and just get it over with. But it's just one of those books that I'm sure will send me spiraling to a reading slump again. ...more
Nicole Sarauer
Nov 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book will sit with me for a while. Crushing, haunting, and very well written.
Fatima Moosa
Nov 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
What a disturbingly brilliant book
Dec 02, 2019 rated it did not like it
awful....50 pages was more than enough
Apr 25, 2020 rated it it was ok
2.5-3 ⭐️⭐️⭐️

“There Has to Be a Knife” is about Omar Ali, who is struggling to understand the recent suicide of his ex-girlfriend, Anna. Omar is also convinced Anna left him a note, and while he searches for answers he turns to crime, alcohol, weed, and new girls to cope. In the midst of this, Omar also begins posting inflammatory posts on Reddit, which soon catches the attention of the local RCMP. Threatened with convictions, the police try to convince Omar to infiltrate a few Toronto mosques, w
Sue Fowler
Jun 03, 2020 rated it did not like it
This was quite possibly one of the worst books I have ever read, at least recently. In the beginning I was excited to read a book written by a Canadian author and set in Toronto, ON. I did love the cultural and place references to Toronto in the book, as many places were familiar to me, but that’s where my enjoyment ended. Perhaps being a 50-something white woman living in small town Ontario fully influenced my negative view, but more than once I found myself desperate to get out of the main cha ...more
Maggie Fried
May 17, 2020 rated it it was ok

I'm always excited to read Canadian authors, and especially books based in Canada, so I was really hoping to love this book. Unfortunately this one just didn't do it for me.

I actually somewhat enjoyed the writing style, and wasn't too bothered by the lack of quotation marks or the fact that the person speaking isn't often identified (you won't find any "said Omar" in this book), although I could see how that would be confusing for readers. I feel like this added to the disconnection within
Dec 19, 2019 rated it it was ok
I picked up this book randomly from local library as I was seduced by its trailer. My first impression was that the writer's style could be read with certain ease . The main character's construction started smoothly while other characters were introduced subsequently. However, past the 50th page or so, it started to become very repetitive I could easily skip big chunks of text without missing much of the intrigue.
I felt like some of the main character's thoughts and faced situations narrated in
Feb 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
This one really messed me up! The back bills it as a story of toxic masculinity, which is really the best frame to read it: Omar isn't a hero, or an antihero, he's just a guy who happens to be telling a story.
That said, he's a tremendous fuckup so it can be a bit mysterious for a while what we're leading to. But the last 40-50 pages is just tremendous. It's one of those books I wish I could've read 15 years ago. I hope you read it, too.
May 14, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: canadian-fiction
This was an excellent book and the author captured the effects of disconnection, poverty and toxic masculinity well.

The problem is I don't need more realistic portrayals of toxic masculinity in my life right now. I also feel like nothing int he book really resolved.
Magida El-Kassis
Jan 01, 2021 rated it really liked it
Bummed out that this ended. I wanted it to last longer.
Really enjoyed the writing style
Margaret Gardner
Nov 18, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: adult-fic
Not my style
Dec 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Fast paced thriller type read. Interesting themes and unique story premise... wish it ended with more gusto. Loved the Toronto setting elements.
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