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By Mark Lavorato


“A haunting historical tale…Evocative, dramatic and poetic page-turner.”
Montreal Gazette

“Lavorato handles the blend of art, politics, language, religion, and power deftly, illustrating that they are inextricably linked. Above all, this novel can be read for its excellent sense of place. Gifted at description, the author transports readers to vanished settings and makes them come alive.”
Quill & Quire


Lavorato_Serafim and Claire

Claire Audette is a dancer whose reputation in the vaudeville houses of 1920s Montreal is rapidly on the rise. Serafim Vieira is a photographer and lonely immigrant, wandering the streets of the same city haunted by memories of a lost love in his native Portugal. Around them, the twenties are roaring, and the metropolis simmering: corrupt politicians, the burgeoning of jazz, the emerging suffragette movement, trouble in the Red Light, fascism in the Italian community, with the English/French divide cleaving through it all. As Serafim and Claire’s lives begin to intertwine, a dangerous plot forms which is sure to boost both their fortunes. Can their naïve yet cunning plan succeed? Can they make their own luck? And, if they fail, what will become of their budding love?

Serafim & Claire is the unforgettable story of two idealistic yet deeply flawed dreamers being drawn together, and of the vibrant city and times in which they live. In lush and beautiful prose, Mark Lavorato brings an entire world vividly to life.

“A gripping story of longing, obsession and the sort of ambition that both fuels and thwarts lives. Lavorato writes with a poet’s eye and a lover’s heart, evoking the beauty and violence of 1920’s Montreal and of the characters he so vividly brings to life.”
-Nancy Richler, author of Imposter Bride

Serafim and Claire is a book of quiet, lush beauty. I savoured every line. The painterly prose reminded me of the best of Michael Ondaatje, and the book will earn a place in the pantheon of great Montreal novels.”
-Marcello Di Cintio, author of Walls: Travels Along the Barricades

Serafim and Claire, the protagonists of Mark Lavorato’s new novel, take you on a fascinating tour of Montreal in the ’20s and ’30s, its vaudeville theatres, political rallies, and streets teeming with life. A compelling read!”
-Eva Stachniak, author of The Winter Palace

“The thrilling balance between the story of two lovers, and the background of the Age and Depression in Montreal, gives Serafim and Claire a rare combination of depth and suspense. Lavorato depicts this rich era with as much energy as detail.”
-A. F. Moritz, winner of the Griffin Poetry Prize for The Sentinel

“Serafim and Claire are undone in a manner that is Dante-esque in its severity, and yet the final scenes are surprisingly, almost distressingly, redemptive.”
Globe and Mail

“Lavorato balances the present, visceral moment with deep subtext, and what results is great, even beautiful writing.”
-Winnipeg Free Press

“While his characters drive the action, Lavorato’s unwavering eye is at its best when observing and describing the city itself, which continues to grapple with many of the tensions that form the backbone of the novel.”
National Post

“Lavorato works hard at not letting the book get sucked into the realm of gaudy and sentimental historical fiction. . .this is not a breezy story. There is poverty, crime, filth, brutal violence, and sex scenes sadder and more real than anything you’ll see on Girls.”
The Coast


House of Anansi, world, February 2014

Awards: Candaian Spotlight Pick