Serafim and Claire
Written by Mark Lavorato
Publication Date January 11, 2014
From one of Canada’s brightest emerging writers comes an unforgettable tale of love, art, and life. Set in the vividly imagined streets of 1920s Montreal, Serafim and Claire is the beautiful, moving, and compulsively readable story of two dreamers whose worlds become forever connected.
Claire Audette is a dancer whose reputation in the vaudeville houses of 1920s Montreal is rapidly on the rise. Serafim Vieria is a photographer and lonely immigrant, wandering the streets of the same city haunted by memories of a lost love in his native Portugal. Around them, the Twenties are roaring, and the metropolis is simmering: corrupt politicians, the burgeoning of jazz, the emerging suffragette movement, trouble in the Red Light, fascism in the Italian community, with the English/French divide cleaving through it all. And as Serafim and Claire’s lives begin to intertwine, a dangerous plot forms that could boost both their fortunes. Can their naïve yet cunning plan succeed? Can they make their own luck? And, if they fail, what will become of their budding love? Serafim and Claire is the unforgettable story of two idealistic yet flawed dreamers being drawn together, and of the vibrant city and times in which they live. In lush and beautiful prose, Mark Lavorato brings an entire world vividly to life.
Mark Lavorato is the author of two novels, Veracity and Believing Cedric, and a collection of poems, Wayworn Wooden Floors, which was a finalist for the Raymond Souster Award. In addition to writing, he is an active musician and a street photographer. He lives in Montreal, Quebec.
"Serafim and Claire is a book of quiet, lush beauty. I savoured every line. The painterly prose reminded me of the best of Michael Ondaatje, and the book will earn a place in the pantheon of great Montreal novels." Marcello Di Cintio, author of Walls: Travels Along the Barricades
"Serafim and Claire, the protagonists of Mark Lavorato's new novel, take you on a fascinating tour of Montreal in the '20s and '30s, its vaudeville theatres, political rallies, and streets teeming with life. A compelling read!" Eva Stachniak, author of The Winter Palace
"The thrilling balance between the story of two lovers, and the background of the Age and Depression in Montreal, gives Serafim and Claire a rare combination of depth and suspense. Lavorato depicts this rich era with as much energy as detail." A. F. Moritz, winner of the Griffin Poetry Prize for The Sentinel
"Lavorato handles the blend of art, politics, language, religion, and power deftly, illustrating that they are inextricably linked. Above all, this novel can be read for its excellent sense of place. Gifted at description, the author transports readers to vanished settings and makes them come alive." Quill & Quire
"...there's a sort of brave gusto in Lavorato's reach -- Serafim dives headlong into a bewildering array of issues beyond the artistic...Lavorato balances the present, visceral moment with deep subtext, and what results is great, even beautiful writing" Winnipeg Free Press
"...Serafim and Claire is an evocative, dramatic and poetic page-turner..." Montreal Gazette