“[Where We Have to Go] wins the reader over with a masterful comic touch and a canny distillation of the painful experience of growing up different…. Kirshner has created a perceptive and likeable protagonist in Lucy. Her observations on growing up in a struggling Jewish family offer moments of laugh-out-loud hilarity…. Evocative and compelling….”
Quill & Quire

"An impressive debut from a gifted writer."
Now

Where We Have to Go is a luminous and sassy first novel about the last days of childhood in a family coming apart at the seams. At once wryly humorous and deeply affecting, this sparkling novel follows the irresistible Lucy Bloom as she searches for her place in the world.

When we first meet Lucy, she’s an imaginative eleven-year-old dreaming of a taste of freedom – and only beginning to grasp that all is not well between her parents. In the years that follow, Lucy’s journey to adulthood will see her question the limits of unconditional love, grow “criminally thin” as she stops eating, and discover complicated truths about what it means to be a young woman. Through it all, the central figure in Lucy’s life remains her mother, Joy, whose larger-than-life stories and boisterous voice belie a deep disappointment. As their relationship is tested again and again, Lucy comes to understand the resilience of the bonds that tie us to the ones we love.

Among the characters we meet are Lucy’s father, Frank, a failed glamour photographer turned travel agent who’s never been out of the country; her best friend, Erin, an artist whose outspoken iconoclasm will inspire and challenge Lucy; and Crashing Wave, Frank’s lover, a former exotic dancer and the woman Lucy comes to imagine as the ideal of all that is feminine.

Set in Toronto throughout the 1990s, Where We Have to Go is a novel of self-discovery, family, and love. It introduces Lauren Kirshner as one of our most striking new voices, and reminds us that sometimes the most difficult journey is the one that takes us home.

 

To read an excerpt from the novel, click here to go directly to the McClelland & Stewart website.