Congratulations on the publication of THE FAKE: A NOVEL by Zoe Whittall publishing today in English (Canada): HarperCollins Canada and English (US): Ballantine!

A con artist can make you feel like the luckiest person on earth just to be in their presence. But when the jig is up, they ghost, and you’re left wondering if you ever mattered.

After the death of her wife, Shelby feels more alone than ever—until she meets Cammie, a charismatic woman unafraid of what anyone else thinks and whose own history of trauma draws Shelby close. When Cammie is fired from her job and admits she is in treatment for kidney cancer, Shelby devotes all her time to helping Cammie thrive. But Shelby’s intuition tells her there are things about Cammie’s past that don’t add up. Could the realest thing about Cammie be that she’s actually a scammer?

Gibson is almost forty, fresh from a divorce and deeply depressed. Then he meets and falls in love with Cammie. Suddenly, he’s having the best sex of his life with a woman so attractive he’s stunned she even glanced his way, and for the first time ever he feels truly known. This is the kind of desire and passion that musicians have been writing love songs about for centuries. But Gibson’s friends are wary of Cammie, and eventually he too has to admit that Cammie’s dramatic life can feel a bit over the top.

When Shelby and Gibson find out Cammie is a pathological liar, they struggle to understand what they really want from her—sometimes they want to help her heal from whatever causes her to invent reality, and sometimes they want revenge. But the biggest question of all is: how honest can Shelby and Gibson be about their own characters?

Praise for THE FAKE:

“Zoe Whittall has created her most extraordinary, complicated and loveable characters yet….Whittall explores the motives and pathologies of a liar in a compassionate, shocking and revelatory way. You want to yell at her open-hearted victims to beware of this lovely apparition. Whittall’s liar is a villain, a monster, a con-artist, but oh such a vulnerable and broken one. Whittall follows the winding path of emotional devastation and upset wrought by lies in a page-turning tale that is impossible to put down. My perspective on lies and liars has forever changed after reading this book.” — Heather O’Neill, two-time Scotiabank Giller Prize-shortlisted author of When We Lost our Heads and The Lonely Hearts Hotel

“Cammie is one of my new favourite villains of Can Lit. We have all met a Cammie. Maybe we have even been seduced by one. You will be by this one, and by Whittall’s live-wire novel The Fake.”  — Jordan Tannahill, Scotiabank Giller Prize-shortlisted author of The Listeners

“The Fake is as witty and sharp as it is humane. It is a compassionately strange and propulsive story that examines how some of us lie to others, how some of us lie to ourselves, and how all of us long to be deceived. I fell in love with these characters, and with the fabulist, fabulous heart that animates Zoe’s writing.”  — Jen Silverman, playwright and author of We Play Ourselves 

“I devoured this wild ride of a novel about one woman’s outrageous web of lies and the people caught it in. The Fake is a mordantly funny tale, as enthralling as it is emotionally astute.” — Antonia Angress, author of Sirens & Muses 

“Zoe Whittall’s gripping new novel, The Fake, upends the expected scammer narrative. Instead of cozying up to the fake herself, we’re caught alongside the two vulnerable people who cling to her as a quick fix for psychic pain. We know this woman who weaponizes false victimhood to get what she wants will only hurt them more, but the story’s irresistible momentum defies us to look away.” — Laura Sims, author of Looker

“I read Zoe Whittall’s newest novel in a single, fevered page turning session. I couldn’t put it down! At once a romp, a cautionary tale and a thriller, The Fake taps so deeply into our human foibles, into the many ways that loss and grief can make us vulnerable in both friendship and in love. Whittall’s writing is as sharp and funny as ever. I loved this novel.” — Amy Stuart, bestselling author of the Still Mine series and forthcoming A Death at the Party

“The genius of Zoe Whittall’s writing is her clear-eyed understanding of human nature, which she lays on the page in beautiful, startling, frank detail. At once a compelling account of a brazen con artist who preys on the vulnerable and a compassionate yet sharp look at compulsive behaviour from every angle, I inhaled The Fake as fast as I could — and haven’t stopped thinking about it since.” — Marissa Stapley, New York Times-bestselling author of Lucky  

“A compelling, hypnotic tale about grief, lies and truth that forces us to examine what it means to trust, to deceive, to take advantage, and to be vulnerable. Whittall’s latest is a terrifyingly honest look at the lies we tell each other and ourselves that moves at a breakneck pace until its heartbreaking, yet inevitable conclusion. I simply couldn’t put this book down.”

— Alicia Elliott, author of A Mind Spread Out on the Ground

“Whittall does an excellent job of showing all that is appealing about Cammie while also revealing her duplicitousness. The novels raises the question of whether Cammie, even with her morally bereft antics, might still be a positive influence in the lives of the people she meets and deceives. The author also manages to draw quirky, memorable characters who are deeply flawed and still compelling. With accessible prose, insight into human nature, a slow build of suspense, and a fresh look at how we handle difficult events, Whittall has created a real winner.”

— Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Press for THE FAKE:

The Globe and Mail: Most Anticipated 2023.

The Toronto Star: Most Anticipated 2023.

The Quill and Quire: 2023 Spring Preview.

She Does the City: Most Anticipated Upcoming Books

Chatelaine: Winter 2023 Most Anticipated

CBC Books: 86 Works of Canadian Fiction Round-up

CBC Books: First Look

Zoe Whittall’s fourth novel, The Spectacular, was published in 2021. The New York Times called it “a competent and highly readable testament to the strength of the maternal bond” and the Toronto Star called it “a singularly impressive piece of fiction.” Her third novel, The Best Kind of People, published in 2017, was shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, named Indigo’s #1 Book of 2016 and a best book of the year by the Walrus, the Globe and Mail, Toronto Life and the National Post. Her second novel, Holding Still for as Long as Possible, won a Lambda Literary Award for trans fiction and was a Stonewall Honor Book. 

Her debut novel, Bottle Rocket Hearts, won the Writers’ Trust of Canada’s Dayne Ogilvie Award for Best Emerging LGBTQA+ novel. She has worked as a TV writer on the Emmy Award–winning comedy show Schitt’s Creek and Degrassi, and she won a Canadian Screen Award for comedy writing on the Baroness Von Sketch Show. Zoe Whittall has published three volumes of poetry, most recently an anniversary edition of The Emily Valentine Poems. Born on a sheep farm in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, she lived in Toronto for many years before moving to Picton, Ontario.

Zoe is represented by Samantha Haywood.

Congratulations Zoe!