Author: Joey Comeau
Genre: Literary Fiction
Number of Pages: 182
Malagash is a lovely and unsentimental portrait of grief told through the eyes of a teenage girl who’s dad is dying of cancer. Sunday is obsessed with coding and she decides to keep her dad ‘alive’ by turning hundreds of sound clips she’s made of him into a computer virus she’ll unleash worldwide. The idea of creating a digital ‘ghost’ that will last long after her dad has succumbed to his illness is what keeps her afloat.
Sunday’s family end up going to the dad’s hometown (the eponymous Malagash) on Novia Scotia to make him comfortable before he goes. Her brother unexpectedly shows an interest in her coding and they begin to form a bond that was never there before. Sunday’s family are a beautifully realized bunch, they just seemed so real to me. The scenes with her and her dad felt unforced and natural and the author confronts the clichés of terminal illness with humor and pathos.
This book was beautifully written and even though Sunday’s family isn’t perfect by any means the love they feel for each other is tangible in every page. From the description I thought this book was going to be a lot more out there but it actually ended up being pretty low-key. The only criticism I can think of is that it ended rather abruptly. Malagash is criminally overlooked and despite a lack of fast-paced or action-packed plot I found that I couldn’t put it down.
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