A Minor Chorus: A Novel (Paperback)
Longlisted for the 2022 Scotiabank Giller Prize
A debut novel from a rising literary star that brings the modern queer and Indigenous experience into sharp relief.
In the stark expanse of Northern Alberta, a queer Indigenous doctoral student steps away from his dissertation to write a novel, informed by a series of poignant encounters: a heart-to-heart with fellow doctoral student River over the mounting pressure placed on marginalized scholars; a meeting with Michael, a closeted man from his hometown whose vulnerability and loneliness punctuate the realities of queer life on the fringe. Woven throughout these conversations are memories of Jack, a cousin caught in the cycle of police violence, drugs, and survival. Jack’s life parallels the narrator’s own; the possibilities of escape and imprisonment are left to chance with colonialism stacking the odds. A Minor Chorus introduces a dazzling new literary voice whose vision and fearlessness shine much-needed light on the realities of Indigenous survival.
— Jami Attenberg, author of I Came All This Way to Meet You
No one breaks your heart as elegantly as Billy-Ray Belcourt. Innovative, intimate, and meticulous.
— Eden Robinson, author of Son of a Trickster
A Minor Chorus is a rare gem of a book. We will be reading and rereading A Minor Chorus for decades to come.
— Alicia Elliott, author of A Mind Spread Out on the Ground
A truly exceptional novel about how the disregarded sometimes live the most remarkable lives. A Minor Chorus is like a song that’s over too soon; I want to play it on repeat, to memorize the words so that I can sing them to myself.
— Katherena Vermette, author of The Strangers
An achingly gorgeous debut novel of Indigenous survival…This is a breathtaking and hypnotic achievement.
— Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Following his essay collection, A History of My Brief Body, poet Belcourt, from the Driftpile Cree Nation, continues his exploration of Indigenous trauma and queerness in this erudite debut novel…Smart, thoughtful.
— Kathy Sexton - Booklist
With his first novel, wunderkind Belcourt cements what has become increasingly clear across two poetry collections and a memoiristic book of essays: he is a fearless writer... [A Minor Chorus is] a ruminative constellation of ideas regarding colonial trauma, heteropatriarchy, and the innate sociality of writing; Belcourt’s boldest, freest, and most linguistically assured work yet.
— Library Journal (starred review)
A Minor Chorus is a feat of technical brilliance, a novel that questions the worth of writing even as it asserts its own value. It is a slippery, scholarly work, rooted in the layered complexity of Indigenous life.
— Laura Sackton - BookPage (starred review)