We Need to Talk About Kevin meets Goodnight Mommy in this outrageous modern family thriller.
Emma and Gregory have a perfect life—a gorgeous home, a successful design firm—except for their inability to start a family. Following a traumatic failed pregnancy, they decide to travel to Russia to adopt a pair of twin boys. From the moment they board the plane in St. Petersburg, the twins begin to demonstrate perverse behaviour that grows increasingly ominous, driving a wedge between Emma and Gregory, and alienating their friends and family. The two brothers show worrying signs of lack of empathy, and seem to leave behind a trail of disturbing incidents, and rumours persist as the boys grow into teenagers—even as Emma continues to cling to her dream of the perfect family. A dark, violent, and tense novel, Daniil and Vanya shows the bond between parent and child gone horribly awry.
These content notes are made available so readers can inform themselves, and some readers may also consider these notes to be spoilers. This book includes references to unsuccessful pregnancy; self-harm; toxic relationships; and sadistic and sexual violence committed by major characters, which may include children.
Featured in the CBC’s fall 2020 preview
Featured in the Globe & Mail’s fall 2020 preview
“An unflinching psychological horror story, both sinister and awe-inspiringly good.”—Chatelaine
“The sense of dread and horror is physically palpable, and the careful stagecraft of the writing… is precisely calibrated. Readers will find themselves unable to look away… the book is a remarkable achievement.”—Casey Plett, Quill & Quire (starred review)
“Daniil and Vanya has none of the gentleness for which Canadian literature is sometimes known. It’s direct and shocking. Marie-Hélène Larochelle’s academic work focuses on violence and vulgarity in French literature, which she explores in this novel without the filter of Canadian politeness. The book goes in swinging and doesn’t stop until it’s gripped you with its haunting brutality to where you can’t look away.”—note from the translator Michelle Winters, Scotiabank Giller Prize-nominated author of I Am a Truck