Allie McFarland is a bi, descendent of colonizers originally from Calgary, AB on Treaty 7 territory. She holds an MFA in Writing from the University of Saskatchewan’s Department of English, where her thesis, a novel(la) forthcoming with AOS Publishing, was nominated for the College of Arts & Sciences Thesis Award. She is a co-founding editor of The Anti-Languorous Project, which publishes antilang. magazine, soundbite, Good Short Reviews, and the On Editing blog series. Her poetic suite “Lullaby” won the 2015 Dr. MacEwan Literary Arts Scholarship. She is also the author of the chapbook Marianne’s Daughters (Loft on EIGHTH, 2018). Allie currently runs a not-for-profit used bookstore on the unceded territories of the Lekwungen people of Vancouver Island. Disappearing in Reverse is her full-length debut.
Part of the University of Calgary Press's Brave & Brilliant series
September 15, 2020
Devin died five years ago. She got an infection, lost her arm, and died. How can Devin be in a picture posted online today?
This picture of Devin, alive when she should not be, triggers a journey of grief and discovery as the young woman convinced that she caused Devin’s death sets out to discover whether Devin may actually be alive, and whether she can be forgiven. Along the way the unnamed narrator steals identities, picking up and discarding personas as she struggles with her guilt and to come to terms with her own bisexuality. As her sense of self unravels, she meets Calgary hippies, a car thief, and an ice cream loving corpse.
Disappearing in Reverse is a mystery, a road novel, and a coming-of-age story. Blending past and present, the self and the other, this novel(la) crosses genres and defies categorization, asking to be met and addressed on its own terms. Fearless and vulnerable, unabashed and wounded, this is a story of the liminal places where expectations falter and the unexpected thrives.
"Allie McFarland has written a book that articulates the unease of new adulthood in a visceral way, mapping grief across Western Canada with a sharp eye to detail, creating an instant staple in Western-Canadian literature."
Erin Emily Ann Vance, author of Advice for Taxidermists and Amateur Beekeepers
Tom Sandborn, Vancouver Sun
"The picaresque novel is not a common genre—there are few that feature a woman protagonist, and even fewer that are written by women. McFarland captures the essence of picara-hood and the frenetic energy of youth while giving us a truly unexpected central figure."
Jesse Holth, Canthius
"Our narrator is always a mirror of where she has been, effecting an elaborate and nostalgically melancholic deflection of the self and the present, which seems appropriate for a person who spends the novel ambivalently searching for someone who is almost certainly dead."