On your bicycle, we are flying. In my sock feet and nightgown, I stand up on your handlebars, the prow of a ship heading into the great unknown, and I climb onto your mile-wide shoulders, can see the next continent ... You catch the moon, always heavy in your mouth. You tell me it tastes like ice and regret. You tell me it tastes like liftoff.
Eugenia Ledoux, nine years old, wakes to a note from her father: ‘gone to save the world. sorry. yours, sheb wooly ledoux. asshole.’ Eugenia is left behind with her mother, the sharp-edged B-movie actress Mink, and her sister, the death-obsessed and hauntingly beautiful Immaculata. When Mink climbs into the family car and vanishes, Eugenia doubles in age overnight, but remains the dark and diminutive creature who earned the nickname ‘Stunt.’
Eugenia devotes herself to finding Sheb. She writes to the man she believes to be Sheb’s father: I.I. Finbar Me The Three, a retired tightrope walker. Waiting for Finbar’s response, she retreats to Toronto Island, where she meets Samuel Station, a barefoot voluptuary, world traveller and ring-maker.
When Finbar does write back, Eugenia wonders if she will find what she is looking for – or something else entirely. Studded with postcards from outer space, twins, levitation, the explosion of a shoulder-pad factory, and some accomplished taxidermy, Stunt is part dirge, part cowboy poetry and part love letter to the wilder corners of Toronto and of ourselves.
‘Claudia Dey’s debut novel is like a snowflake, utterly unique, compellingly intricate and sparkle-riven, sharp as broken crystal and just as dazzling. Stunt is daring, poignant, full of abandon and abandonment, wistful and funny. Brilliant.’ – Lisa Moore