Coq by Ali Bryan

Ten years after her raucously entertaining debut novel, Roost, Ali Bryan checks in with Claudia and her family to bring readers up to date on their latest adventures. 

Coq continues in the hectic, tragi-comic vein of the first book. Ten years after the event, Claudia is still grappling with the emotional fallout from her mother’s sudden, unexpected death. For Claudia, family is a priority. Her children, Wes and Joan, grown from toddlers into teens, have opinions and expectations they don’t mind voicing, often quite loudly. Her ex-husband, Glen, still in the picture, his mind annoyingly broadened by the experience of extended foreign travel, has “found himself” and is re-evaluating past life choices. 

But in the midst of her busy career and the challenge of raising two children in the age of social media and legal cannabis, much of Claudia’s attention and concern is drawn to her aging father, who, as the novel opens, is marrying again after a brief romance with Mona. Luckily for everyone, Mona, despite a few eccentricities, seems to be a rock: dependable, emotionally stable, and level-headed. 

The idea of a family trip to Paris (a place her mother always wanted to visit), occurs to Claudia after the wedding as a way to honour her mother’s memory and provide the family with much-needed closure. Needless to say, things do not go strictly as planned. 

In Coq, Ali Bryan has fashioned a novel packed with dramatic incident and bursting with amusing twists and turns. The story, narrated by Claudia in her trademark irreverent vernacular, moves briskly. In Paris, Claudia finds that confronting her own oft-neglected emotional needs—which she finally does, albeit reluctantly—is key to moving forward. But can she set aside the needs of others—her father, her children, Glen, Felix—long enough to figure out how to take the next step and get on with her life? 

In this follow-up novel, Ali Bryan once again ushers us into the rapidly evolving world of a strong, smart, independent woman who often feels crushed by the weight of demands coming at her from all directions, but who is also beginning to realize (and maybe accept) that if she doesn’t take care of herself first, her efforts to care for those she loves will come to nothing. Coq—something of an emotional roller-coaster but also wise, touching, funny and deeply felt—is a fitting sequel to its award-winning predecessor. Fans of Roost will not be disappointed. 

Ali Bryan’s first novel, Roost, won the Georges Bugnet Award for Fiction and was the official selection of One Book Nova Scotia. Her second novel, The Figgs, was a finalist for the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour. The Crow Valley Karaoke Championships is forthcoming from Henry Holt in 2023. Ali lives in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies on Treaty 7 territory.

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Freehand Books (May 1 2023)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 240 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1990601251
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1990601255

Ian Colford’s short fiction has appeared in many literary publications, in print and online. His work has been shortlisted for the Thomas H. Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award, the Journey Prize, the Danuta Gleed Literary Award, and others. His latest novel, The Confessions of Joseph Blanchard, was the winner of the 2022 Guernica Prize and was published by Guernica Editions in 2023. He lives in Halifax.