Ottoni, Christine
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
University of Guelph

Duplex is an intergenerational novel about family sexual abuse. Twenty-eight year old Chicky tells the story of three generations of the Padinas, an Italian-Canadian immigrant family in Montreal: their origins in post-war Italy; the Quiet Revolution; and internet chat rooms in the early aughts. The Padinas are a mystery, a family with secrets, and to understand the ghosts that haunt them, Chicky must uncover the unspoken horror that has been allowed to fester in the Padina home for decades. Duplex is written in a tradition of novels that discuss sexual abuse and silence, including Camilla Gibb’s Mouthing the Words and Teresa Marie Mailhot’s Heart Berries. Duplex uses a metaphorical haunting to explore the unspeakable, similar to Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward and The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters. Structurally, Duplex mirrors the shape of a house, split into two parts titled “Downstairs” and “Upstairs”. A formal consideration of the duplex as a space that facilitates abuse was inspired by Jericho Brown’s duplex poetic form.