Malagash by Joey Comeau, ECW Press


Comeau, Joey

  • Winner of the 2018 Alex Award (ALA Youth Media Award)
    Longlisted for the 2018 Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic Adult Fiction
    Honorable Mention at the 2018 Eric Hoffer Book Awards

    “[A] sly and affecting novella.”— Wall Street Journal, Best New Fiction

    “An immensely touching tribute to a very human struggle with mortality.” — Publishers Weekly

    A precisely crafted, darkly humorous portrait of a family in mourning

    Sunday’s father is dying of cancer. They’ve come home to Malagash, on the north shore of Nova Scotia, so he can die where he grew up. Her mother and her brother are both devastated. But devastated isn’t good enough. Devastated doesn’t fix anything. Sunday has a plan.

    She’s started recording everything her father says. His boring stories. His stupid jokes. Everything. She’s recording every single “I love you” right alongside every “Could we turn the heat up in here?” It’s all important.

    Because Sunday is writing a computer virus. A computer virus that will live secretly on the hard drives of millions of people all over the world. A computer virus that will think her father’s thoughts and say her father’s words. She has thousands of lines of code to write. Cryptography to understand. Exploits to test. She doesn’t have time to be sad. Her father is going to live forever.


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  • Joey Comeau is the author of four novels and the webcomic A Softer World. His work has been nominated for the ReLit and Shirley Jackson awards, has appeared in the Best American Non-Required Reading and the Guardian, has been profiled in Rolling Stone, and has recently been translated into French, Spanish, Turkish, and German. He lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

  • Published: October 2017

    ISBN: 9781770414075

    Dimensions: 4.5 x 7 in.

    Pages: 184


Malagash is a poignant snapshot of the wonder, joy, sorrow, and reckless daring of being alive. With it, Joey Comeau cements his place among Canada’s most talented and original writers. I loved this cleverly tender and unforgettable heartbreak of a book and I know you will too. A Monster Calls for a plugged-in age.” — Courtney Summers, author of This Is Not a Test and All the Rage

“Known primarily for darkly comic novels and the webcomic A Softer World, Comeau effortlessly switches gears to expose the trauma, heartbreak, and humor in loss…an immensely touching tribute to a very human struggle with mortality.” — Publishers Weekly

“Graceful images, scenes and dialogue blossom, meaning Malagash rings with authentic emotion…Comeau gives readers a spare novel that feels real when it counts.” — Toronto Star

Malagash offers a contemporary narrative about grief and the complex emotional struggle it engenders . . . Comeau creates his own kind of virus with his prose, something I haven't been able to shake off since reading.” — Strange Horizons

Malagash is a unique take on death in the digital age. Comeau presents a forthright yet eloquent story about life, death, and what we leave behind. Highly recommended.” —Atlantic Books Today

“Witty and poignant. . . It perfectly captures the all-too-relatable feeling of dealing with loss. . . Comeau's fragmented sentences and short chapters provide a darkly humorous yet thoughtful read — one that will leave you feeling melancholy long after you're done.” – THIS Magazine

Malagash is an unexpected little book, a slim novella by Joey Comeau, full of wit and punch and wisdom. . . Comeau's writing is pithy, and filled with flashes of delight and sadness. The characters, even when overheard from a distance, inspire affectionate and knowing smiles from the reader. Malagash lets air and light – and laughter – into the room of grief.” – Scene Magazine

“A glimpse into Sunday's family was all it took for me to be invested in this pre-teen girl and her introspective journey through the pain of a parent's illness.” –

“The biggest strength of this novel is the way Comeau masterfully develops the relationship between the family members . . . As with his previous novels, Comeau's prose is masterfully simple. In simple words and short sentences, he conveys big emotions.” — Cultured Vultures

“Comeau’s style is sparse but powerful.…Malagash is a darkly humored exploration of death, family, and grief, eloquent despite its short 183 pages, devastating despite its simplicity. Highly recommend.” — BumbleBookBee blog

“Comeau resists sentimentality, and, given his subject matter, that’s no small feat…” — Publishers Weekly

“A spare, ice pick-sharp look at coping with death. . . A fine fable for all smart readers.” — Library Journal

“It’s an escape for these characters that is explored to touching effect by Comeau’s tranquil, lyrical prose...Comeau’s novel lingers with its small pithy truths, its big pithy truths and all the stuff in between.” — The Coast

“[A] sly and affecting novella . . . Mr. Comeau grasps a crucial truth that the most important characters in fiction about death are the survivors, and this book ends not with visions of the deluge but the promise of the rainbow sign.” –- Wall Street Journal, Best New Fiction

“A glimpse of Sunday's family was all it took for me to be invested in this preteen girl and her introspective journey through the pain of a parent's illness.” – Canadian Living

“Original, tender, and tightly-written, Malagash is funny and smart, but also deeply moving.” – Open Book

“Giving us a glimpse into small town Nova Scotia, Comeau's story of a teenage girl who refuses to accept her father's impeding death is beautifully crafted and darkly funny.” – CBC Books

“[Comeau's] dark humor is also still present, and in the light of impending loss, its edge gleams . . . There is no twist: Malagash tells you what it is and for that reason, it works.” — Rain Taxi Review of Books