cover image Blackout Odyssey

Blackout Odyssey

Victoria Feistner. Brain Lag, $14.99 trade paper (200p) ISBN 978-1-928011-52-1

A gender-bent retelling of The Odyssey, Feistner’s enjoyable sophomore novel (after Creampuffs) opens as heroine Mallory leaves her job in the east end of Toronto on a hot and sticky summer day. All Mallory wants is to get home to her boyfriend, Dylan. This would usually be an easy feat, but tonight is different: it’s the start of the Northeast Blackout of 2003. After the lights go out and Mallory loses her wallet in the chaos, she must make a perilous trek across the city, relying on the kindness of strangers and her own wits to get by. Along the way, she encounters many strange sights, among them an underground supernatural world in the depths of Honest Ed’s Discount Store, a pot farm in the Queens Quay streetcar station, and a rock battle—which she joins in on—outside of Lee’s Palace concert hall. Mallory’s stubborn defiance in the face of the weirdness she stumbles on is endlessly entertaining, and her adventures double as a travelogue through famous Toronto sights. Feistner captures beauty, strangeness, and distinct Torontonian flair in her humorous, energetic prose. Fans of fresh takes on classics and quirky quests will find much to love. (Aug.)