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Mercy Gene

Mercy Gene

224 pages
Published:   March 14, 2023
Fiction  /  Novels
Paperback:   9781773102948    $22.95

Think Maggie Nelson meets Hannah Gadsby.

Told in kaleidoscopic bursts of erratic recollections, daydreams, poetry, and lists, Mercy Gene is the powerful, genre-smashing debut work of auto-fiction by acclaimed writer, playwright, and comedian JD Derbyshire. Inspired by Derbyshire’s critically acclaimed and award-winning stage play, Certified, and anchored by protagonist Janice/Jan/JD, Mercy Gene is a beautiful, humorous, and sometimes brutal look at queerness, gender confusion, institutionalization, addiction, and abuse.

Through flashes of memory and imaginings, Derbyshire illustrates the intense and invisible “side effects” of psychiatric treatment and the unreliability of memory. In a stream-of-conscious narrative that provokes and consoles, eliciting tears and laughter at equal pace, Derbyshire re-examines a life of unspoken and repressed trauma. Between devastating bouts of depression, hilarious side-quests into the author’s dryly sardonic inner monologue, helpless moments at the mercy of their own psyche, and tour-de-force appearances by fictional versions of Miriam Toews and the late, great Margot Kidder, Derbyshire leads readers through a non-linear narrative to treatment, forgiveness, and acceptance.
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JD Derbyshire is a Vancouver-based comedian, theatre maker, writer, and mad activist whose work examines mental health, queerness, and gender exploration. Derbyshire’s critically adored play Certified has won two Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards. Mercy Gene is their first book.