— SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2017 HAMILTON LITERARY AWARD IN FICTION --
— SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2017 KERRY SCHOOLEY AWARD --
A nimble debut novel featuring a magical Niche and a motley cast of neighbourhood misfits.
When fifteen-year-old Mutton is robbed at gunpoint while working in her mother’s Hamilton thrift store, the thief makes off with an item that Mutton knows isn’t meant for him, hurling Mutton and her family into a summer of remarkable and heartbreaking events. From fighting unscrupulous developers to first loves to the anguish that comes from never knowing what your final words to a loved one might be, Saints, Unexpected reminds us of the magic that comes with each opportunity to begin again.
“This small gem of a novel will stay with you long after you finish reading. It’s a mystery, a love story, a family drama, and it has just enough magic to keep you hooked to the last page.”
— Annabel Lyon, The Sweet Girl
"SAINTS, UNEXPECTED is not only a masterful evocation of the simple complexities of family life, it’s also a moving tribute to a city and to those who have struggled to save it. Brent van Staalduinen has a sure eye and a powerful voice."
— Wayne Grady, Emancipation Day
"Brent van Staalduinen's SAINTS, UNEXPECTED takes on family, strife, and the magic of neighbourhoods with a precise and compassionate hand. The details of Hamilton's downtown core are as delicate and unforgettable as his characters themselves—this is a novel filled with hope, both as gritty and as gentle as the city it explores."
— Amanda Leduc, The Miracles of Ordinary Men
"The streets of downtown Hamilton provide a brawny setting for this unflinching, yet tender novel. In its portrayal of characters who endure unforeseen tragedy to achieve hard-won consolation, Saints, Unexpected affirms the ennobling power of love."
— Hugh Cook, Heron River
"SAINTS, UNEXPECTED is a glimpse into the magical quality of everyday life. Brent van Staalduinen creates an ordinary world and tinges it with the kind of mysticism that I think we’d all like to imagine infuses our lives."