The Divinity Gene: Stories

Paperback | January 24, 2011

byMatthew Trafford

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Recipient of the Honour of Distinction for the Dayne Ogilvie award, and long-listed for the Frank O'Connor Short Story Prize, the largest prize for a book of short stories worldwide, The Divinity Gene, is a beguiling and bizarre collection of stories from a remarkable new voice in Canadian fiction.

A mob of teens descends upon Paris in the thrall of a self-help author; a grotesque yard-sale statuette frees a dying man from his silence; the hottest club in town is staffed by angels. This is the uncanny world of The Divinity Gene, Matthew J. Trafford’s debut story collection, and it bristles with humour, pathos and imaginative power.

Skewering urban culture even as it conjures up the magic in the mundane, the stories of The Divinity Gene map the frailty of the human heart. Caught in the crosshairs of faith and science, its characters—bereaved, sidelined, cast adrift—journey forth to the undiscovered places, in search of something to believe in, someone to love, always with disarming results. A passionately devout scientist clones Jesus Christ from the DNA contained in holy relics; a man makes a Faustian cyber deal with the devil for the sake of his family; bereaved parents sign on for an unorthodox government reparations project following a school tragedy.

Masterfully original, deeply human, The Divinity Gene introduces a bold and evocative new writer.

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From the Publisher

Recipient of the Honour of Distinction for the Dayne Ogilvie award, and long-listed for the Frank O'Connor Short Story Prize, the largest prize for a book of short stories worldwide, The Divinity Gene, is a beguiling and bizarre collection of stories from a remarkable new voice in Canadian fiction.A mob of teens descends upon Paris in ...

From the Jacket

Back Cover"In Trafford's hands, the short story mutates into a creature I have never met before. This new creature has the gene for angelic. It has the gene for devilish. It has the gene for lifting you up to a great height and pointing out the absurdity and danger below. You will not want to put this creature down. A wicked and wonder...

Matthew J. Trafford's fiction has appeared in The Malahat Review and Matrix and has been anthologized in I.V. Lounge Nights and Darwin's Bastards: Astounding Tales from Tomorrow. He has won the Far Horizons Award for Short Fiction and an honourable mention at the National Magazine Awards and has twice been shortlisted for the CBC Liter...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:200 pages, 8 × 5 × 0.55 inPublished:January 24, 2011Publisher:Douglas And McIntyre (2013) Ltd.Language:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1553656032

ISBN - 13:9781553656036

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Th Divinity Gene - Divine! What an amazing collection of short stories! From humour, to the supernatural, to the power of love and loss, every story in this book left an impression on me. I especially loved iFaust (being a huge Stephen King fan-girl in my day), Gutted (love love love mermaids), Past Perfect (which actually brought me to tears with its beautiful but sorrowful ending), The Renegade Angels of Parkdale (which should be a movie), and The Divinity Gene (having read every book on Templars, and other biblic mysteries that I can!). What an amazing collection! Highly recommended and cannot wait for the next bunch of stories from Matthew J. Trafford!
Date published: 2011-02-21

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Editorial Reviews

"Attention MFA instructors...Require that each of a novice fiction writer's first ten short stories contain at least one fantastical element....If this method is widely implemented, perhaps the world would be graced with more first story collections like The Divinity Gene, in which most of the stories follow this rule.....Trafford's alchemical mixing of research, fable, pathos, and plot yields impressive results." -- Rain Taxi "The Divinity Gene stories express a romantic mythos -- especially the search for reconciliation -- but it is Trafford's style -- blending, dare I say reconciling, romance and realism -- that defines these stories. The Divinity Gene is a witty, charming, and empathetic collection of short stories." -- The Bull Calf "Trafford juggles humour, sadness, and an often delicious sense of the surreal. The result, fictions that play to either mind or heart but rarely both, suggest that Trafford has the potential to become a force in Canada's literary world." --  Maple Tree Literary Supplement "While Trafford's...persistent wit...punctures the abundant pessimism and heartbreak...this series of thought-experiments is...eminently readable, shot-through with moments of genuine pathos and even brilliance." -- Publishers Weekly "In Matthew J. Trafford's first collection of stories, The Divinity Gene, the uncanny sits comfortably alongside the mundane...This is all snappy and attention-getting, and it is entertaining, but Trafford has more on his mind than surface flash. There's a real sensitivity at the base of these stories, and some very profound emotions on display." --  Winnipeg Free Press "Inventive, unnerving, hilarious, heartbreaking, but more often than not, just plain bizarre, this collection of short stories dizzily oscillates between the surreal and the mundane, intertwining the two so seamlessly it's often difficult to tell one from the other...The Divinity Gene is engrossing, fun, and anything but predictable." --  The Tyee "Matthew J. Trafford's debut collection, serves well to introduce readers to a restless writer who is eager to wrangle with -- to bend, to extend, to revamp -- a Canadian short story mainstay: realism of voice, subject and plot." -- Vancouver Sun "In his debut collection of short stories, The Divinity Gene, Matthew J. Trafford pulls off a generic balancing act, suspending his swaying narrative tightrope between the often opposed platforms of 'genre' and 'literary' fiction. His performance is certainly captivating. Walking the line with him are rogue angels, dissected mermaids, messianic clones, Faustian e-demons, and homophobic undead...These creatures swing the stories between scenes that are sometimes fantastically unfamiliar, sometimes unflinchingly intimate, often both." -- Numero Cinq "Trafford does not traffic in the trappings of mimetic realism, preferring instead to focus on elements of the fantastical: angels, mermaids and the living dead -- 'the stuff of collective dreams' -- all make appearances in his fiction." -- National Post "The Divinity Gene is a book that asks difficult questions about identity, faith and the narratives that construct both (though with less heavy a hand than those themes suggest)." -- Shhh, I'm Reading Blog "...He is able to give each style and story a beating heart...A great dramatic satirist, Trafford's exotic creations are meant to sate our curiosity in other ways -- in asking about the nature of intolerance, of faith, of orientation, of love, and of learning...'The Divinity Gene' is an amazing debut from a writer who clearly has a great control over the page." -- Vancouver Weekly