Please click for more information about shipping during the COVID-19 pandemic.


We Want What We Want

Written by Alix Ohlin

Published July 27, 2021 | ISBN 9781487004897
FICTION / Short Stories

Cover of We Want What We Want

Regular price $22.95 CAD

256 pages
Print Format

About this book

We Want What We Want

Alix Ohlin

Thirteen glittering and darkly funny stories of people testing boundaries, from two-time Scotiabank Giller Prize finalist Alix Ohlin.

Alix Ohlin delivers a masterclass in the short story with We Want What We Want, populated by bad parents, burned potential, and inescapable old flames. In the mordantly funny “Money, Geography, Youth,” Vanessa arrives home after volunteering in Ghana, only to discover that her father is engaged to her childhood best friend. In the subversive “The Brooks Brothers Guru,” Amanda drives to Upstate New York to rescue her cousin from a cult, only to discover well-dressed men living together in a beautiful abode, drinking cocktails, and exchanging Classical knowledge. In “The Universal Particular,” Tamar welcomes her husband’s young relative into her suburban home, only to find her life knocked askew in ways she doesn’t quite understand.

Each story in We Want What We Want is diamond-sharp — sparkling with humour, pain, and beauty.

About the Author

Alix Ohlin

ALIX OHLIN is the author of five books, including the novels Inside and Dual Citizens, which were both finalists for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Tin House, Best American Short Stories, and many other publications. Born and raised in Montreal, she lives in Vancouver, where she chairs the creative writing program at the University of British Columbia.

Awards and Praise


Finalist, Scotiabank Giller Prize

Finalist, Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize

A CBC Book of the Year

A Globe and Mail Book of the Year

Finalist, Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize

“Touching … Dual Citizens has a lot in common with Zadie Smith’s Swing Time and Claire Messud’s The Burning Girl.” — Wall Street Journal

“This novel sneaks up on you the way life does — full of chance and yearning. It’s a precise, subtle, sad, and graceful story about how we care for each other, and how we try to, and how we fail.” — Jia Tolentino, author of Trick Mirror

“With supreme confidence, Ohlin’s quicksilver prose and brilliant characterization at once seize and pull the reader into the wide-ranging and complex world of half-sisters Robin and Lark as they struggle with questions of identity, the slow burn of mental illness, and the need to leave your mark on the world. Her characters are as complex and real as your own dearest loved ones. Dual Citizens is a compulsively readable novel about family, sisterhood, and those uncontrollable forces that drive and haunt us.” — Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize Jury Citation

“Chronicling the wayward trajectories of two very different but equally fascinating Montreal-bred sisters from childhood into midlife, Alix Ohlin’s novel, true to its title, quietly refutes monolithic tenets that regard identity as something fixed and singular. Dividing its narrative between Canada and the U.S., the urban and the wild, solitude and solidarity, creativity and caregiving, Dual Citizens is a long-term sororal love story and affecting double portrait of female self-actualization untethered from established paradigms of ambition.” — Scotiabank Giller Prize Jury Citation

“Evocative … Traces [its] characters over long arcs of time and place with equal amounts grace and wit.” —Vogue


Finalist, Scotiabank Giller Prize 

Finalist, Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize 

An Best Books: Editors’ Picks 

An Best Books: Top 10 Canadian Fiction 

A Globe and Mail Top 100 Book 

A Quill & Quire Books of the Year 

An Oprah’s Book Club Summer Reading Pick 

An iTunes Store Best Book of 2012

A Heather’s Pick

“Vividly pictorial … Ohlin has as unsettling an old soul as Leonard Cohen’s.” — Globe and Mail

“A superb second novel … next to brilliant phrases and scenes of laugh-eliciting satiric jabs, there are brutal, heartbreaking circumstances.” — National Post

“Can any of us really save another person? Or is each of us solely responsible for his or her own life? That’s the question lurking behind Alix Ohlin’s astute novel.” — O, The Oprah Magazine

“A skillful storyteller … attractively quick-witted and wry.” — J. M. Coetzee

“Ohlin has a great eye, a great ear, and all the other equipment auguring a very successful future.” — Jay McInerney


“Wise and whimsical … there’s plenty of playfulness and warmth throughout these stories, but there’s plenty of insight, too.” — O, The Oprah Magazine

“Unputdownable. It’s the literary equivalent of a Paul Simon album: crisp, focused, lovely, and lasting. Ohlin’s characters are so genuine you’ll be reminded of people you know, love, and hate.” — Marie Claire

“Impressive … with enjoyably mordant humour and a surgical hand with relationship dissection, Ohlin examines the corrosion-prone faces of love.” — National Post

“These closely worked stories about life on earth — they soar. They do.” — NPR

“I’ll come right out and say it: Read this!” — Montreal Gazette