A precisely crafted, darkly humorous portrait of a family in mourning
Sunday’s father is dying of cancer. They’ve come home to Malagash, on the north shore of Nova Scotia, so he can die where he grew up. Her mother and her brother are both devastated. But devastated isn’t good enough. Devastated doesn’t fix anything. Sunday has a plan.
She’s started recording everything her father says. His boring stories. His stupid jokes. Everything. She’s recording every single “I love you” right alongside every “Could we turn the heat up in here?” It’s all important.
Because Sunday is writing a computer virus. A computer virus that will live secretly on the hard drives of millions of people all over the world. A computer virus that will think her father’s thoughts and say her father’s words. She has thousands of lines of code to write. Cryptography to understand. Exploits to test. She doesn’t have time to be sad. Her father is going to live forever.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
We can’t get over how delightfully strange Joey Comeau’s work is. Malagash is a matter-of-fact, funny, and modern take on mortality. Sunday’s father is losing his battle with cancer. Everyone around Comeau’s teenage heroine is preparing for his death and telling her to be brave, but Sunday has a different idea. She’s constructing her father’s ghost, if you will—a computer virus based on his every word and laugh. This tender and twisted book celebrates last everythings and laughing off death.
Facing her father's imminent death, Sunday, the young protagonist of Comeau's affecting novella, has devised a plan. Surreptitiously recording their conversations, Sunday will transcribe his every word and keep his memory alive via a computer virus. Once completed, the virus "will say his words for him; it will copy them into memory. Into the long stretches of unused storage. Like an echo in an empty room. Like the words written on the back of an old photograph, hidden by the frame." Sunday's quest to preserve her father in code poignantly explores how everyone confronts grief in his or her own idiosyncratic way. Known primarily for darkly comic novels and the webcomic A Softer World, Comeau effortlessly switches gears to expose the trauma, heartbreak, and humor in loss. Sunday's efforts to transform her father into "a ghost story that computers tell one another in the dark" is an immensely touching tribute to a very human struggle with mortality.