Certainty | Granta

  • Published: 06/04/2017
  • ISBN: 9781783783731
  • 129x20mm
  • 320 pages


Madeleine Thien

In present-day Vancouver, Gail Lim, a producer of radio documentaries, is haunted by the mysterious events in her father’s childhood in war-torn Asia, and using her skills as a journalist is driven to unravel the mystery of his past. As a boy, Matthew Lim hid in the jungle fringe near Leila Road in Japanese-occupied Sandakan, North Borneo, with Ani, a girl whose friendship shapes the rest of his life. Together they barely survive the terrifying events of the war, which shatters their families and ultimately splits them apart – until years later, they meet again, only to endure another separation.

At once sweeping and intimate, Certainty crosses continents, cultures and time to explore the legacies of loss, the dislocations of war and the redemptive qualities of love.

A nuanced study of love, displacement and the quicksilver nature of certitude, its prose gleams with emotional clarity


Compelling and thoughtful . . . Thien has a gift for beautifully shaped images that she uses to powerful effect


Confident, captivating, surprising and engaging... Each character offers something distinctly charming and real. All illumine different facets of humanity, war and the distortion of perception and memory, and each perspective has the potential to rewrite the story anew

San Francisco Chronicle

The Author

Madeleine Thien‘s novel Do Not Say We Have Nothing was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2016 and won the Scotiabank Giller Prize 2016 and the Governor General’s Award 2016. She is also the author of the story collection Simple Recipes (2001) and the novels Certainty (2006) and Dogs at the Perimeter (Granta, 2012), which was shortlisted for Berlin’s 2014 International Literature Award and won the Frankfurt Book Fair’s 2015 LiBeraturpreis. Her books and stories have been translated into 23 languages. The daughter of Malaysian-Chinese immigrants to Canada, she lives in Montreal.

More about the author →

From the Same Author

Madeleine Thien on Granta.com

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Madeleine Thien & Catherine Leroux

Madeleine Thien and Catherine Leroux introduce Granta 141: Canada in both English and French.

Essays & Memoir | Granta 141

The Land In Winter

Madeleine Thien

Madeleine Thien on the occupation of Palestine.