Heidegger Stairwell by Kayt Burgess
Please choose from the format options below, or scroll down/click “read more” for a free list of discussion questions.
About the Book
Music journalist Evan Strocker has almost finished a memoir chronicling his time with Heidegger Stairwell, an indie-rock legend from small-town Ontario whose members he has known his whole life. But the band thinks he’s left a little too much of himself on the page—allowing his experiences as a transgender man and his very complicated romance with the lead guitarist eclipse the story of the group’s dramatic rise and fall. Through graphic notes and colourful marginalia, the musicians weigh in on their friend’s version of the truth and fight to put their own testimony on the record. And as Strocker’s manuscript finally comes together, both band and writer are forced to face shocking new events that once again change their fortunes.
Heidegger Stairwell is the winner of the 34th Annual International 3-Day Novel Contest—a notorious literary marathon that pushes writers to produce risky, original and fast-paced narratives despite highly demanding constraints. Ontario writer Kayt Burgess used the creative pressure to win the contest with this boundary-crossing, multilayered first novel about friendship, identity, destiny and loss. Heidegger Stairwell was released in September 2012. It has also been nominated for a 2013 ReLit Award.
About the Author
Kayt Burgess is a writer, musician and classically trained
operatic soprano. She studied publishing at Humber College
in Toronto, classical music at the University of Western
Ontario, and earned her Master’s degree in creative writing
from Bath Spa University in the UK.
Kayt was born in Manitouwadge, Ontario, grew up in Elliot Lake, has
lived in New Zealand, England and Scotland and now lives
near Toronto. Find her online at www.kaytburgess.com.
“Burgess does a good job of teasingly blurring the lines between fiction and reality; throughout Evan’s account there are notes from the band members on the margins, correcting him, giving jibes at Evan and each other, and providing their own testimonies… Evan’s battle over which ‘self’ to portray drives home the novel’s assertion that truth, like identity, always has a different version of it lurking somewhere.”—Natasha Sanders-Kay, SubTerrain magazine
“I loved Heidegger Stairwell, a novel by Kayt Burgess, which seems to be an excellent companion to Sophie B. Watson’s Cadillac Couches, another CanLit musical ode which I recently read. Both are about musical fandom and friendship, with cross-Canada road trips thrown in for good measure… I’ve never encountered a character like Evan Strocker in fiction before, a transgender man and an abashedly serious shit-disturber… Burgess comes with university degrees with classical music and creative writing, so she knows what she’s doing here. And it doesn’t really matter how long it took her to do it; she’s created a novel that’s outside of ordinary.”—Kerry Clare, Pickle Me This book blog
“It’s a fast read and an entertaining one, at that. Recommended for anyone with a healthy love for schadenfreude.”—Sebastian Buzzalino, Beatroute magazine