We Want What We Want

We Want What We Want

Written by: Ohlin, Alix

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

In the mordantly funny “Money, Geography, Youth,” Vanessa arrives home from a gap year volunteering in Ghana to find that her father is engaged to her childhood best friend. Unable to reconcile the girl she went to dances with in the eighth grade and the woman in her father’s bed, Vanessa turns to a different old friendship for her own, unique diversion. In the subversive “The Brooks Brothers Guru,” Amanda drives to upstate New York to rescue her gawky cousin from a cult, only to discover clean-cut, well-dressed men living in a beautiful home, discussing the classics and drinking cocktails, moving her to wonder what freedoms she might be willing to trade for a life of such elegant comfort. And in “The Universal Particular,” Tamar welcomes her husband’s young stepcousin into her home, only to find her cool suburban life knocked askew in ways she cannot quite understand. 

Populated with imperfect families, burned potential, and inescapable old flames, the stories in We Want What We Want are, each one, diamond-sharp — sparkling with pain, humour, and beauty.

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

In the mordantly funny “Money, Geography, Youth,” Vanessa arrives home from a gap year volunteering in Ghana to find that her father is engaged to her childhood best friend. Unable to reconcile the girl she went to dances with in the eighth grade and the woman in her father’s bed, Vanessa turns to a different old friendship for her own, unique diversion. In the subversive “The Brooks Brothers Guru,” Amanda drives to upstate New York to rescue her gawky cousin from a cult, only to discover clean-cut, well-dressed men living in a beautiful home, discussing the classics and drinking cocktails, moving her to wonder what freedoms she might be willing to trade for a life of such elegant comfort. And in “The Universal Particular,” Tamar welcomes her husband’s young stepcousin into her home, only to find her cool suburban life knocked askew in ways she cannot quite understand. 

Populated with imperfect families, burned potential, and inescapable old flames, the stories in We Want What We Want are, each one, diamond-sharp — sparkling with pain, humour, and beauty.

Published By House of Anansi Press Inc - Jul 27, 2021
Specifications 256 pages | 6 in x 9 in

PRAISE FOR ALIX OHLIN AND WE WANT WHAT WE WANT

“The collection explore[s] desire and grief through a finely drawn and eclectic cast of characters ... Ohlin’s sly irony leavens the aching plights of characters for whom closure is unattainable.” New York Times Book Review

“Glittering ... Shot through with dark humor and keen powers of observation, this collection probes our contradictions with incisive clarity.” Esquire

“Ohlin’s slyly humorous and devastatingly sensuous collection of short fiction shines a brilliant light on women’s inchoate desires.” O Magazine

“Alix Ohlin is a magician. It’s not just that the stories are — individually and collectively — stunning; it’s that she makes it look so easy.” Toronto Star

“There’s no shortage of phrases, sentences, and paragraphs to savour on every page … The elegant stories are delectable, electric, and clever … An exceptional, satisfying reading experience.” — Vancouver Sun

“Calling all fans of Lorrie Moore, Deborah Eisenberg, and Robin Black: You have a new favourite writer.” Newark Star-Ledger

“[Ohlin] has a rare gift for examining the confusions of the 21st century, exploring the ways in which addictions, afflictions, attractions, and random impulses shape our lives.” — Boston Globe
 
“With language intensely evocative and keenly focused on the nuances that define each of us as individuals, Ohlin delves into the lives of her characters — even in her shortest pieces — and reveals a depth to them, a poignancy, that is deeply affecting.” — Baltimore Sun

“This cunning writer yanks you inside her world.” — San Francisco Chronicle

“Ohlin’s characters are so genuine you’ll be reminded of people you know, love and hate. For better or worse, you may even see yourself in the pages.” Marie Claire

“Another rich collection full of insights and sticky contradictions … Ohlin reveals the depth of her characters with empathy and precision … More than worth the price of admission.” — Publishers Weekly

“Ohlin’s stories have a quiet elegance to them and a restraint, although they’re filled, too, with grief and with loss … The book is a pleasure to behold … A wry and moving collection that supplies no easy, unearned endings.” Kirkus Reviews

PRAISE FOR ALIX OHLIN AND DUAL CITIZENS

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

PRAISE FOR ALIX OHLIN AND INSIDE

Finalist, Scotiabank Giller Prize 

Finalist, Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize 

An Amazon.ca Best Books: Editors’ Picks 

An Amazon.ca 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

PRAISE FOR ALIX OHLIN AND SIGNS AND WONDERS

“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