The Swells

The Swells

Written by: Aitken, Will

In this darkly hilarious satire by the inimitable Will Aitken, class war erupts aboard a luxury cruise ship.

 

A boatload of white privilege, The Emerald Tranquility is the most luxurious cruise liner afloat, its passengers some of the richest people in the world. Meanwhile the ship’s crew, overworked and underpaid, live packed tightly together in airless below-deck cabins. The passengers encounter a great number of cataclysms at sea, but no matter the catastrophe, the great ship always sails on.

Briony, a globetrotting luxury travel writer, emulates the rich — though homeless and penniless herself — as she hops from gig to all-expenses-paid gig. On her own personal voyage, she encounters Mrs. Moore, an enigmatic woman of advanced age clandestinely fomenting a mutiny on this bountiful ship.

With the captain overthrown, roles quickly reverse: the crew become the ship’s new leisure class and the aged passengers learn how to mop floors and scrub toilets. Confused and terrified by the resultant chaos, Briony must decide which lot to cast her fate with in this savage satire of the way we live now.

In this darkly hilarious satire by the inimitable Will Aitken, class war erupts aboard a luxury cruise ship.

 

A boatload of white privilege, The Emerald Tranquility is the most luxurious cruise liner afloat, its passengers some of the richest people in the world. Meanwhile the ship’s crew, overworked and underpaid, live packed tightly together in airless below-deck cabins. The passengers encounter a great number of cataclysms at sea, but no matter the catastrophe, the great ship always sails on.

Briony, a globetrotting luxury travel writer, emulates the rich — though homeless and penniless herself — as she hops from gig to all-expenses-paid gig. On her own personal voyage, she encounters Mrs. Moore, an enigmatic woman of advanced age clandestinely fomenting a mutiny on this bountiful ship.

With the captain overthrown, roles quickly reverse: the crew become the ship’s new leisure class and the aged passengers learn how to mop floors and scrub toilets. Confused and terrified by the resultant chaos, Briony must decide which lot to cast her fate with in this savage satire of the way we live now.

Published By House of Anansi Press Inc - Jan 4, 2022
Specifications 176 pages | 5.25 in x 8 in

PRAISE FOR WILL AITKEN AND THE SWELLS

The Swells is a brilliantly acerbic upstairs-downstairs satire of class and privilege on the high seas. Will Aitken cements his reputation as one of our greats.” — Jordan Tannahill, author of Scotiabank Giller Prize finalist The Listeners

“Careful not to spill that flute of Veuve Clicquot on your Jimmy Choos as you’re swept away on the waves of this riotous high-seas satire where the 1 percent become the 99. The delectable queer lovechild of Condé Nast TravellerThe Great Gatsby, Karl Marx, and P. G. Wodehouse, The Swells asks if revolution is like rearranging diamonds and deckchairs on the Titanic, if utopia is the worst form of society except for all the others. Strap on your Mae West: this voyage is an archly, artfully, uproariously breezy yet incisive dark delight.” — Gary Barwin, author of Scotiabank Giller Prize finalist Yiddish for Pirates and Nothing the Same, Everything Haunted

"In The Swells, Will Aitken’s brilliant new novel, the most luxurious cruise ship on the seas floats right-side up, but the passengers and crew are turned upside down. On board, a class mutiny yields an eviscerating yet hilarious reversal of fortunes and a stinging, darkly veiled satire that left me laughing and thinking long after I turned the last page.” — Terry Fallis, two-time winner of the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour

PRAISE FOR WILL AITKEN AND REALIA

“Somewhere between Ovid and Jonathan Swift lies Realia, as lucid as a Japanese paper clip but slightly more real. Will Aitken is my favorite novelist writing in English today.” ? Anne Carson, author of Autobiography of Red   

“Aitken weaves in elements from the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, drawing the characters into a tight, dramatic climax that comes close to eclipsing the original.” ? Globe & Mail

“In Louise, Aitken has created a character to be proud of ? loud, large, lusty and … utterly out of place [in Japan]. Both her voice and her personality are resonant.” ? National Post 

“Aitken overlaps pop culture and ancient myth to create a gritty, unsentimental love story with operatic dimensions … Realia is a quirky novel, part modern myth, part demystification.” ? Montreal Gazette

“This is a finely written book, the prose clean. Aitken’s sentences are chopped just enough to produce quick sinuous forward momentum while maintaining internal integrity.” ? Malahat Review

“Japan's reinvention of Western pop culture is rich territory for an outsider satirist, and Aitken reveals its curiosities through Louise's own inimitable and short-tempered voice. The richness of Louise’s character is what makes Realia such a triumph ? her painful and familiar story animates Aitken's jokes and intellectual myth-pop games. Realia is a rare bird indeed: an ironic piece of smart postmodern pop that has genuine emotional depth.” ? Montreal Mirror

“Excellent ... the dizzying heights of Japanese pop culture are beautifully presented, and so intrinsically surreal that the very distinction between real and surreal blurs.” ? Montreal Review of Books


PRAISE FOR WILL AITKEN AND ANTIGONE UNDONE

Finalist, Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Non-Fiction


“For author Will Aitken, the classics are very much alive. His Antigone Undone is about what happens to us when supposedly dusty works of art don’t just resonate but skewer us straight through. By the end of his brief, brilliant book, Aitken himself is nearly undone ? and Antigone emerges as a 2,500-year-old juggernaut more mysterious and magnetic than before.” ? 2018 Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction Jury

“Aitken’s inspiring autobiographical odyssey, which centers on Sophocles’s Antigone, translated by Anne Carson, is a testimony to the power of art. He champions a way of making and seeing the arts that heightens their relevance and brings Sophocles’s 2,500-year-old play into readers’ contemporary lives and World.” ? Publishers Weekly

“This is a work of brilliance and intimacy. Will Aitken shows us up close what happens when some of the most ingenious and learned minds working in the performance arts immerse themselves in a masterpiece of the Greek stage. The result is raw, intellectually engaging, and exhilarating.” ? Sarah Nooter, author of The Mortal Voice in the Tragedies of Aeschylus

“This thoughtful and disturbing memoir poignantly illustrates how, for good or ill, the power of art can transform human understanding.” ? Laurel Smith, Quill & Quire

“From my perspective as a Cree, Antigone represents the voice of our women and Creon is colonialism. Antigone Undone forces us to look at ourselves, a timeless challenge speaking to everyone, in all eras.” ? Floyd Favel Starr, playwright

“Not for people who can resist being shattered.” ? Laurie Anderson, artist