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House of Anansi Press

Watching You Without Me

Written by Lynn Coady

Published October 01, 2019 | ISBN 9781487006884

Cover of Watching You Without Me

Regular price $22.95 CAD

376 pages | 8 in × 5.25 in
Print Format

Also Available as an Ebook

About this book

Watching You Without Me

Lynn Coady

Reader's Guide ↓

The highly anticipated new literary suspense novel from Scotiabank Giller Prize–winning author Lynn Coady.

After her mother’s sudden death, Karen finds herself back in her childhood home in Nova Scotia for the first time in a decade, acting as full-time caregiver to Kelli, her older sister. Overwhelmed with grief and the daily needs of Kelli, who was born with a developmental disability, Karen begins to feel consumed by the isolation of her new role. On top of that, she’s weighed down with guilt over her years spent keeping Kelli and their independent-to-a-fault mother, Irene, at arm’s length. And so when Trevor — one of Kelli’s support workers — oversteps his role and offers friendly advice and a shoulder to cry on, Karen gratefully accepts his somewhat overbearing friendship. When she discovers how close Trevor was to Irene, she comes to trust him all the more. But as Trevor slowly insinuates himself into Karen and Kelli’s lives, Karen starts to grasp the true aspect of his relationship with her mother — and to experience for herself the suffocating nature of Trevor’s “care.”

Scotiabank Giller Prize–winning author Lynn Coady delivers a creepy and wholly compelling novel about the complex relationship between mothers and daughters and sisters, women and men, and who to trust and how to trust in a world where the supposedly selfless act of caregiving can camouflage a sinister self-interest.

About the Author

Lynn Coady

Lynn Coady is the author of the bestselling novel The Antagonist, which was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, as well as the novels Mean Boy, Saints of Big Harbour, and Strange Heaven and the short story collection Play the Monster Blind. ? ? Website: ? ? Twitter:?

Awards and Praise


Longlist, Scotiabank Giller Prize 

Finalist, Forest of Reading Evergreen Award

A Quill & Quire Book of the Year

A Now Magazine Book of the Year

“Thank God for Lynn Coady’s singular voice and deliciously skewed worldview. Every book of hers is an occasion to celebrate!” — Miriam Toews, author of Women Talking

Watching You Without Me is both a suspenseful, deeply creepy page-turner and a beautifully subtle character study of a grieving woman slowly unravelling while trying to understand how to care for her sister, and herself, in an ableist world. Another masterpiece from the singular Lynn Coady.” — Zoe Whittall, author of The Best Kind of People

“Moments of genuinely unnerving violence and aggression … What works so well in Coady’s new novel is not so much the moments when she tightens the narrative screws, but rather when she lingers on the warped material they are being screwed into.” — Globe and Mail

“An enticing and propulsive two-bodies-on-a-collision-course plot … Coady has a surgical hand with the mechanics of suspense.” — Toronto Star

“A taut, intense story about love and manipulation from one of Canada’s best writers.” — Now Magazine

Watching You Without Me is like a Lorrie Moore book suffering a Patricia Highsmith fever dream. You slide right along on Coady’s witty and endearing style, and meanwhile the trap has closed over you without your ever standing a chance.” — Jonathan Lethem, author of Motherless Brooklyn and Dissident Gardens

“A terrific, thoughtful, insightful novel.” — Linwood Barclay (via @linwood_barclay), author of Elevator Pitch

“Deeply felt and deeply scary.” — Marina Endicott (via @marinaendicott), author of Good to a Fault

“With Watching You Without Me, Coady showcases just how smooth her writing is … Expertly rendered characters, easy reading plot, and excellent pacing.” — Quill & Quire

“Coady has her storytelling chops on full display here.” — Hamilton Review of Books

“[Lynn Coady’s] readers will be accustomed to the violent, addicted, narcissistic men in her past work and find fresh and unnerving explorations of the subject in Watching You Without Me.” — Atlantic Books Today


Winner, Scotiabank Giller Prize

Finalist, Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize

A Globe and Mail Top 10 Book

An Best Book: Editors’ Pick

“Lynn Coady is one of the most dynamic prose stylists in Canadian letters.” — The Walrus

“A superb collection, end to end, and easily one of the best books I’ve read so far in 2013.” — Edmonton Journal

“Coady is a writer who increasingly commands attention and respect.” — Globe and Mail

“Coady’s sharp sense of humour serves to humanize even the most vicious or clueless figures in the book. There is searing honesty here about humankind’s inability, or unwillingness, to make an effort at connection, but the author’s own humanity rescues her vision from descending into despair or nihilism.” — National Post

“A brilliant collection of stories.” — Winnipeg Free Press


Winner, Georges Bugnet Award for Fiction

Finalist, Scotiabank Giller Prize

A Globe and Mail Top 100 Book

A Toronto Star Top 100 Book

An Best Book: Canadian Fiction

An Best Book: Editors’ Pick

“Dear Lynn Coady: As I said, I love your new book, with its unsettling mixture of comedy and pathos … Incredibly funny, sarcastic and profane, right up till the moment when the tragedy below the surface suddenly erupts … It’s an extraordinarily clever and sympathetic exploration of the cross-currents of male friendship, the intense relationships we make and abandon in school. How ill-fitting those intimacies feel years later whenever a college reunion or some chance encounter forces us to try them on again.” — Ron Charles, Washington Post

“A full-bodied work of fiction … Coady’s previous books have received much praise and it’s easy to see why, given all the gifts of storytelling on display here. A fine novel.” — Globe and Mail

“Only a writer as wonderfully gifted as Lynn Coady could elicit such extraordinary sympathy for a man as full of self-destructive rage as Rank, her main character. You won’t soon forget either him or this haunting novel.” — Richard Russo

“Coady’s fluency in the language of the college boy [is] impressive, [as is] her feel for the camaraderie that is inseparable from rivalry and masculine aggression.” — The New Yorker

“Wildly enthralling, compelling … A bravura novel, tightly controlled … a readable, quixotic coming-of-age story, a comedy of very bad manners, and a thoughtful inquiry into the very nature of self. It’s the sort of novel — and Coady the sort of writer — deserving of every accolade coming to it.” — National Post

“A wicked page-turner … Brilliantly moves between the harrowing and the hilarious … Truly confirms Coady as a comic genius … and one of the best Canadian writers.” — Winnipeg Free Press

  • Long-listed Scotiabank Giller Prize, 2020