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An Idea About My Dead Uncle

An Idea About My Dead Uncle

By K.R. Wilson

A young, mixed-race composer, raised without meaningful connections to his Chinese heritage and struggling with identity issues, travels to China in search of his long-missing uncle, an uncle who vanished in the aftermath of Tiananmen Square. An Idea About My Dead Uncle--winner of the inaugural Guernica Prize for the best unpublished novel manuscript--is about the identities we choose and the ones that are imposed on us. It is about being on the outside looking in. It is about dealing with pain through the artistic process. It is about delusion and healing. It is about the power of narrative. According to Gabriella Goliger, winner of the 2011 City of Ottawa Literary Award for Fiction for her novel Girl Unwrapped and a juror for the Guernica Literary Prize: A witty, sharp-edged, finely-crafted story about a young man struggling with identity issues, which causes relationship disasters and a quest for his long lost uncle in China. The introspective but straightforward narrative eventually plunges into the surreal, mirroring the madness that can result from an uncompromising search for self.


Guernica Editions (Guernica Prize)


214 pages |

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K.R. Wilson turns the usual quest-for-identity tale on its head in this bold and compelling novel of a young man struggling with ambivalence towards his ethnic heritage and the traumas of family dysfunction. The story begins with beguiling lightness and irony, swerves into tragi-farce and descends into fantastical chaos as the narrator literally loses himself through his obsessive search for his dead uncle. Wilson’s prose is playful, vivid, richly layered and poignant. A story that throws many curve balls at the reader, including big questions about the meaning and/or absurdity of life.

Gabriella Goliger, winner of the 2011 City of Ottawa Literary Award for Fiction

K.R. Wilson’s remarkable novel is smart, funny, unpredictable and engaging. Imbued with insights on family, identity, relationships and music, An Idea About My Dead Uncle brims with suspense and adventure, intriguing characters and fine storytelling.

Cora Siré, author of Behold Things Beautiful


Guernica Prize for Literary Fiction (Winner)

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About the author

K.R. Wilson was born in Calgary and lives in Toronto. An Idea About My Dead Uncle, the winner of the 2018 Guernica Prize for Literary Fiction, grew out of the journey he and his wife made to China to adopt their daughter, and the research into Chinese history and culture that it inspired.