by Marie-Sissi Labrèche (CA)

Searing and lyrical, Marie-Sissi Labrèche's auto-fictional novel, Borderline, describes a young girl's experience growing up in Montreal's working-class neighbourhood of Hochelaga-Maisonneuve. Raised by her "two mothers" - a stern grandmother and a mother struggling with schizophrenia, the story's protagonist, Sissi, is artistic, feral, fragile, insightful, and wild. The novel flicks between the traumas of Sissi's young childhood and early adulthood, spinning a web of connections between her history and the stories she begins to unspool as she studies writing in school. Raw, violent, and at times absurd, Borderline treats all things - the city, class, education, mental health, despair, sexuality, love, and art, with an unflinching, unblinking regard.

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