Lucinda's Reviews > Monoceros

Monoceros by Suzette Mayr
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's review
Sep 12, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: canada, contemporary-fiction

'So what is the appeal of a novel about teenage suicide?' This is what I was thinking before I started this novel by Giller longlist author Suzette Mayr. I really had no desire to read a book on this topic; I lived through all that teenage angsty-ness and really do not care to revisit it. So Mayr basically had a few knocks against her before I even cracked the book. By the end though I was surprised by how much I was moved by this book, and how much I enjoyed reading it. Mayr's wit is subtle but effective in Monoceros.
One thing she did well was choose a great form for her subject matter - the novel flits through the different narratives of various characters who had different degrees of contact with the 'dead boy', from the school guidance councellor and principal, to the secret boyfriend of the boy and the boyfriend's jealous girlfriend, to the girl obsessed with unicorns who sat next to the dead boy but never really knew him. The first person narratives are amazing - Mayr captures all the mundane details, the way people's thoughts shift from everyday boring stuff and from self-absorbed reflections periodically cycling back to these kinds of events, rehashing one's responsibility or lack thereof in this kid's suicide. And in showing multiple sides you can't help but fully realise the tragedy of the death. especially these days with all the talk of bullying.
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