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By Grace O’Connell

“Seductive, subtle and stunning all at the same time. O’Connell takes the world you know in hand, and tilts it slightly, a bit more, then even more . . . until everything is something else, and breathtaking. Magnified World is not just big; it is deeper, scarier, more there than the real thing. And although it’s a daunting place to be, O’Connell’s writing is such that you’d follow her anywhere. You’ll want to live inside this language, wrap yourself up in it; She really is that good.”
-Shaugnessy Bishop Stall, author of Ghosted


OConnell_Magnified World

A beautiful New Face of Fiction debut from a stunningly gifted young novelist about what it means to be a daughter, a patient, a lover and a human being who can carry on after a massive loss.

What’s a girl supposed to do after her mother kills herself by walking into the Don River with her pockets full of unpolished zircon stones? Maggie removes the zircon stones from the inventory of the family’s New Age shop and opens up for another day of business. Then her blackouts begin, as do the visits from a mysterious customer who offers help for Maggie’s blackouts and her project of investigating her mother’s past in the American South. Is Maggie breaking down in the way her mother did, or is her “madness” a distinctive show of grief? Nobody really knows, not her father, her boyfriend or her psychiatrist, and especially not Maggie, who has to make some crazy decisions in order to work to feel sane again. A vivid look at the various confusions that can set in after a trauma and an insightful, gently funny portrait of a woman in her early twenties, especially relatable to readers who grew up in the eighties and nineties, Magnified World dramatizes the battle between the head and the heart and the limitations of both in unlocking something as complicated as loss.

“A powerful debut that tackles the fears and joys of the heart.”
-Ami McKay, author of The Virgin Cure

“Be glad you found this book. It’s magical.”
-Lisa Moore, author of February

“Magnified World brims with life and magic and celebrates the inventiveness that allows us not only to survive but daringly reinvent ourselves.”
-Catherine Bush, author of The Rules of Engagement and Claire’s Head

“In its intimate mysteries and wry observation, O’Connell’s Magnified World offers something quite rare: a view of grief that isn’t sad, but touching, whimsical and wise.”
-Trevor Cole, author of The Fearsome Particles

“O’Connell delves into the murky waters of memory, identity and mental illness with heartbreaking clarity and wisdom. Magnified World is a gem of a book.”
-Brian Francis, author of Natural Order

“O’Connell writes with assurance and a rare vitality. At once funny and deeply disturbing, Magnified World will remain with the reader long after the book is closed.”
-Rabindranath Maharaj, author of The Amazing Absorbing Boy

“Charm. It’s a rare quality that is in abundant evidence in Grace O’Connell’s debut. A whole emotional world—and an intimate take on the city—are drawn by a distinctive authorial voice that’s already found itself.”
-Andrew Pyper, author of The Killing Circle and The Guardians

“A smart, dark, funny, puzzle box of a book that is as much about hope as it is about grief and the grip of a mother on her daughter.”
-Alexi Zentner, author of Touch

“Grace O’Connell’s novel is nice, funny and strong, and it connects with a wallop… We may have to give O’Connell the prize for aural evocation of a Toronto streetcar, in this case clanking along Queen Street, ‘in a baritone of metal complaints.’ This comes in the second sentence of a debut novel that, aside from its palpable urban jangle, seduces immediately by force of storytelling.”
The Globe and Mail

“…ultimately, it’s O’Connell’s intense portrayal of a daughter’s grief that makes this journey worth reading… O’Connell’s precise and sometimes quirky prose make Maggie’s distress almost tangible…”
Winnipeg Free Press

“O’Connell has a deliriously good style, swooping through layers of consciousness and comprehension with elegance and even a bit of humour. [Magnified World is] a novel that moves seamlessly between the real world and Maggie’s alternate consciousness. The effect is so well done that the reader finds the multifaceted world of the novel “magnified” many times.”
Quill and Quire

“a poignant, affecting first novel…The greatest strength of Magnified World lies…in moments of quiet yet piercing insight into the pain of losing a loved one.”
Toronto Star

Interview in Celtic Life magazine

Q and A in THIS magazine


Knopf Canada, May 1, 2012


CBC Books 10 Canadian Writers to Watch in 2012

The Globe and Mail’s Fab Five