The City Still Breathing by Matthew Heiti

citystilbreathingHave you heard of Matthew Heiti? Yeah, me neither, but he definitely on my list of one to watch now. I just finished reading his novel The City Still Breathing and I can say that I was blown away by it. Heiti can write. My expectations were not overly high going in – I picked it up mostly because it was set in Sudbury – but I was anything but disappointed.

The City Still Breathing is a short novel, set in the course of 24 hours. There are numerous sub-story lines that all converge on a missing dead body. Some stories are only tangentially related to this, other have the dead body as the focus. Overall, the general timbre of the novel is far from joyful and rather gritty. Let’s just say that we are dealing with a slice of life this middle class girl has only read about. But the characters are incredibly well drawn for such a short book. And the language is unbelievable.

Who would like this book? This book is for CanLit lovers. It is dark and moody and very northern, if that makes sense. There is a touch of David Adams Richards in Heiti’s writing, though i didn’t find it quite so bleak.This book would also appeal to those who are looking outside the mainstream for their reading. Published by Coach House, you know you are going to get good quality and a beautifully produced book.


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