Dirty Birds

Available July 8, 2020.

Author: Morgan Murray
Genre: Fiction
Format: paperback
Pages: 432
Dimensions: 4.25 x 6.875 x 2 in
Weight: 1 kg
Published: July 8, 2020
ISBN: 9781550818079

In late 2008, as the world’s economy crumbles and Barack Obama ascends to the White House, the remarkably unremarkable Milton Ontario – not to be confused with Milton, Ontario – leaves his parents’ basement in Middle-of-Nowhere, Saskatchewan, and sets forth to find fame, fortune, and love in the Euro-lite electric sexuality of Montreal; to bask in the endless twenty-something Millennial adolescence of the Plateau; to escape the infinite flatness of Saskatchewan and find his messiah – Leonard Cohen.

Hilariously ironic and irreverent, in Dirty Birds, Morgan Murray generates a quest novel for the twenty-first century—a coming-of-age, rom-com, crime-farce thriller—where a hero’s greatest foe is his own crippling mediocrity as he seeks purpose in art, money, power, crime, and sleeping in all day.


“Canadians rejoice! Our Vonnegut has finally arrived! Morgan Murray’s debut is a great, brawling, sprawling, muscular glory of a story. Funny, dark, and wholly original.” – Will Ferguson, winner of the Scotiabank Giller Prize

“Fortune or misfortune? Fate or coincidence? Genius or idiocy? Ah, the polarity that runs rampant throughout this highly entertaining and adventurous love story where passion keeps sprinting headlong into reality, learning nothing from the crashes. I love this amusing story, which reminds me a lot of the one time I met Leonard Cohen, whom I thought was very, very nice?” – Vish Khanna, Kreative Kontrol

“In Dirty Birds Morgan Murray has magnificently created one of my favourite narrative perspectives: the diffident anti-hero. This book is Tom Robbins, with grotesquely entertaining characters, dancing between sex and death, sometimes in the same scene. It’s John Irving with a protagonist that draws attention to just how much better everyone else is at everything. And it’s Kurt Vonnegut, carrying you through a quilt of strange scenes that leap from tumble weed to high-speed chase in a single page and have you contemplating the meaning of life. It’s pulls you out of your own world where you are probably doing something interesting and important, and transports you to nowhere-Saskatchewan, where you are hanging off every word of the terrible poetry of an entirely average man-child. It would be a coming of age story, except Milton barely advances. But in that way it is so real, and you love him anyway, rooting for him to become someone you can be proud of. I LOVED this book, and I kind of want a sequel, and the idea of a sequel about a guy who’s arguably learned nothing is maybe a TERRIBLE idea and that makes me love this book even more.” – Jenny Mitchell, Bird City and CFRU Radio, Guelph

“One of the most fun and dynamic aspects of the book is Morgan’s facility with different dialogues. These include, but are not limited to, the matrix of the prairie junior hockey structure, the non-stop conversation of a Newfoundland taxi driver, academic papers, police files, and, most prominently, Milton’s poetry. These are often decoded and/or annotated in footnotes, a comedic amplification that’s an effective and refreshing device in this fiction. There’s work and care in the writing; the experiences, however foolish, feel earned. At the same time it’s kinetic: the words, like birds, take flight.” – Joan Sullivan, The Telegram

“This book would make a great Canadian film starring Michael Cera. Refreshingly backlit with the nostalgia of Obama era planet Earth, riffing on a myriad of contemporary themes including intergenerational tensions and anxieties, global economic frailty and the pursuit of young desire, Dirty Birds is the perfect misfit read for your next layaway, or when you’re down to your last shot of whisky. It provides days’ worth of warm, weird feelings.” – Nathaniel G. Moore, Atlantic Books Today

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