The Joyful Child author Norman Ravvin

“At a certain age, kids arrive and change everything.  The Joyful Child presents this change through a father’s relationship with his young son.  The father, Paul, and his son Nick, find themselves alone together after the breakup of Paul’s marriage.   In the course of the novel Paul and Nick hone their idea of home and fall in love with the adventures of the road.  Much of what they experience points forward, to how they might understand one another in the future.  But the narrative points backwards, too, to Paul’s own father who abandoned his family, and then further back to a grandfather who was a comic figure in his long lost Polish town.

“In all my work,” Ravvin says, “I’m intrigued with the way that different cities and landscapes lead people to live particular kinds of lives.  I’ve lived all over the country, though I’ve missed out on the North.  The lives Paul and Mary choose with Nick are intimately connected with their changing attachments to Vancouver, to Toronto, and to the coast of Vancouver Island.  For the reader, Paul and Nick are vicarious adventurers; they change themselves without necessarily knowing how or why.”

“The novel is short enough to hold in your hand, as I like to think of it – like other short novels that stay with you and can be reread easily.   It should lift the reader the way a good Wim Wenders film might, or an extended pedal steel vamp by Daniel Lanois.  It ought to feel open, like a gut punch that arrives without it being in any way expected.”

“In all my work,” Ravvin says, “I’m intrigued with the way that different cities and landscapes lead people to live particular kinds of lives...

  • Norman Ravvin’s first novel, Café des Westens, won the Alberta Culture and Multiculturalism New Fiction Award.
  • His second novel, Lola by Night, came out in Serbian translation in 2007.
  • His story collection, Sex, Skyscrapers and Standard Yiddish, won the K.M. Hunter Ontario Arts Council Emerging Artist Prize.
  • A novel in progress, The Typewriter Girl, was recently supported by a Canada Council Writers in Mid-Career Grant
  • He was, for two years, fiction editor at the Fiddlehead magazine in Fredericton.
    His fiction and non-fiction have appeared in journals, magazines and newspapers across the country, as well as on CBC Radio.
  • He is the co-editor of The Canadian Jewish Studies Reader and editor of Not Quite Mainstream: Canadian Jewish Short Stories, as well as the Hungry I imprint based in Montreal, which focuses on Canadian Jewish writing
  • A native of Calgary, he lived in Vancouver, Toronto and Fredericton before settling in Montreal with his family.