A NOW Magazine Best Book of the Year
A CBC Books Best Canadian Fiction of the Year
A Maclean's 20 Books You Need to Read This Winter
The author of the acclaimed novel Scarborough weaves an unforgettable and timely dystopian account of a near-future when a queer Black performer and his allies join forces against an oppressive regime that is rounding up those deemed “Other” in concentration camps.
In a terrifyingly familiar near-future, with massive floods that lead to rampant homelessness and devastation, a government-sanctioned regime called the Boots seizes the opportunity to force communities of colour, the disabled and the LGBTQ2S into labour camps in the city of Toronto.
In the shadows, a new hero emerges. After his livelihood and the love of his life are taken away, Kay joins the resistance alongside Bahadur, a transmasculine refugee, and Firuzeh, a headstrong social worker. Guiding them in the use of weapons and close-quarters combat is Beck, a rogue army officer who helps them plan an uprising at a major internationally televised event.
With her signature prose, described by Booklist as “raw yet beautiful, disturbing yet hopeful,” Catherine Hernandez creates a vision of the future that is all the more terrifying because it is very possible. A cautionary tale filled with fierce and vibrant characters, Crosshairs explores the universal desire to thrive, to love and to be loved as your true self.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Following in the footsteps of Margaret Atwood’s chilling classic The Handmaid’s Tale, Catherine Hernandez’s near-future dystopia hits eerily close to home. After widespread floods, droughts, and wildfires ravage Canada (and most of the rest of the world), a fascist regime takes power through “The Renovation”—a horrifying plan that forces minorities of all stripes into concentration camps. Hernandez’s novel follows Kay, a queer Jamaican Filipino man, and his ragtag band of allies as they travel through the ravaged streets of Toronto. Hernandez describes Kay’s quest for freedom with such cinematic clarity and momentum, we were alternately on the verge of tears or ready to jump up and cheer. Dark but hopeful, Crosshairs is an intense, timely story of survival and resistance that’s destined to become a classic.
Hernandez's searing if heavy-handed blend of dystopian fiction and social commentary (after Scarborough) conceives of a near future in which environmental disaster leads to a white supremacist regime in Canada. Kay, born Keith Nopuente, describes himself as a "Queer Femme Jamaican Filipino man" and is one of the "Others" including LGBTQ, POC, and disabled people who are being marginalized in a campaign to restore Canada to "order" and "tranquility" in the wake of floods and food shortages that caused mass displacement in the country. The Renovation, a government-sanctioned program, deploys special forces called the Boots to strip the Others of their rights in the name of providing food and shelter, rounding them up and forcing them to work in labor camps or killing them for resisting. Kay hides out first in Toronto with Liv, a white, queer ally of the Resistance, and then at Beck's, another queer, white ally. As the characters band together, they take steps toward a drastic action to gain the country's attention. Hernandez takes a scathing look at discrimination and capitalism in her disturbingly familiar look at Western culture, but, unfortunately, this often reads more like a how-to-ally manual than a novel. While the premise is well-imagined, the story suffers from a lack of nuance.