The aspiring: A novel

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University of New Brunswick


In The Aspiring, an episodic travel novel and hesitant kunstlerroman facsimile, unrest serves as the novel's undercurrent, and the motivations of its characters reflect the struggle against emotional and physical stasis. The novel's protagonist, Nick, desperately strives to create his own identity and mythology as a person and artist through the narrative's comedic allusions to expatriate adventures and the classical notion of the formative European Grand Tour. The Aspiring loosely connects three story arcs: the primary narrative follows Nick's travel adventures with his best friend Adam in Western Europe; stream-of-consciousness recollections exhibit Nick's heartbreak over losing his Montreal girlfriend, Talia; and the third story arc, written as flashbacks, comprises episodes of a teenage Nick listening to his father tell anecdotes of his European travels in the 1960s. These arcs cohere through recognition: Nick must learn to distinguish between authentic and idealized life experiences to create his own mythology.