Desperate to find a home, a restless, wandering woman determines that the only way she can appease her terrible homesickness is to occupy the still center of death. Unable to commit suicide, she hires
Desperate to find a home, a restless, wandering woman determines that the only way she can appease her terrible homesickness is to occupy the still center of death. Unable to commit suicide, she hires a professional killer and contracts him to murder her, by her choice and on her terms.
Restlessness chronicles their meeting and its unexpected story and outcome. In an effort to dissuade the woman from death, her killer elicits from her stories about her travels.
In this reversal of Sheherazade, who saves her life through a continuous story, Restlessness becomes a story about how to avoid story, a travel book about how to evade travel, a manual for how to stay put. Breathtaking in the tension of its incipient murder, this novel will not permit the reader to break the thread of watching and waiting that both death and travel conjure.
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"Sizzles forward. . . . Van Herk's descriptions are compact, and drenched in indefatigable and passionate adoration. . . . Combines the light, exuberant handiness of good mystery writing with a perfect vertiginous stillness reminiscent of Samuel Beckett's novels."
— Globe and Mail
"A brave novel . . . a remarkable achievement. . . . An indelible record of planned erasure, a homage to life written in the vocabulary of death. It is about contradiction, and it is contradictory; it is restless without being relentless. It is disquietingly beautiful and hauntingly articulate about belonging and love, and about the connectedness of stories and writing and life and death."
— Books in Canada
"A subtle and rewarding novel."
— Quill & Quire
"Van Herk can expertly delight and stimulate the intellect, with elegant phrasing, witty theoretical discussions and allusions, and ornate flourishes."
— Calgary Herald
"fascinating and tender."
View Biographical note
Aritha van Herk
was born in central Alberta, and studied at the University of Alberta. She first rose to international literary prominence with the publication of Judith, which received the Seal First Novel Award and which was published in North America, the United Kingdom and Europe. She is a member of the Royal Society of Canada, and a Professor who teaches Canadian Literature and Creative Writing in the Department of English at the University of Calgary.