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Exploring The Relationship Multiverse

Exploring The Relationship Multiverse

In her debut genre-bending book, Vancouver-based author Myriam Lacroix takes us on a rollercoaster ride through various realities as she explores how the love story between her two characters works out…

By Stephan Petar

Relationships are entry points into a multiverse. When we’re in one, our minds create endless possibilities of how they could blossom and grow. When we end them, the nagging question of “what could have been” haunts us and takes us through worlds of “what if’s” in the hope we can pinpoint a reality in which that relationship works out. 

“I think we’re trying to protect ourselves from being hurt and trying to convince ourselves that there is a pot of gold at the end of the love rainbow that is going to save us from ourselves,” says author Myriam Lacroix (she/her) about why we may create these possibilities. 

The “what if” is what the Montreal-born author explores in How It Works Out. Her first book has been described as “delightfully bizarre” by Canadian music duo Tegan and Sara (who make a cameo in the book) and “a breathtaking and inspiring debut” by author George Saunders. 

How it Works Out is a relationship multiverse in which each chapter offers an alternate outcome to a relationship, beginning with the dreamier, happily-ever-after outcomes of early relationships and eventually growing to become more complex and less rose-tinted,” Lacroix told IN Magazine.

Readers visit eight alternate realities centred around the relationship of Myriam and Allison. The pair fall in love at a show in a run-down punk house, which is the catalyst for a series of imaginative hypotheticals where their relationship unfolds. What if they found a baby? What if they became celesbians (celebrity lesbians) after releasing a book titled How it Works Out? What if the cure to Myriam’s depression was cannibalism? What if there was a CEO and employee power dynamic? 

Started over a decade ago as a series of microfictions, the book is presented in the exact order each story was written, with the exception of “Mantis.” Lacroix describes the arc as being shaped organically, in line with a relationship she had and the different emotions she experienced within it. “It was me processing all of my expectations and understanding of myself as it progressed.”

How it Works Out puts a version of Myriam at the centre of the book and, in some cases, portrays her as a villain. It was an experience that Lacroix enjoyed – she felt it connected her with her audience and allowed her to reflect. “I felt vulnerable to put myself in the centre of my art. I felt it was taking away some of the distance between the writer and reader, and that felt important to me.… There are definitely some reflections on self-perception and self-interpretation by the end of the book.”

Beyond tapping into herself and her experiences, Lacroix explored the Vancouver arts and culture scene for inspiration, which included watching some “theatrical, over-the-top, concept wrestling” courtesy of the League of Lady Wrestlers. 

The wrestling collective inspired a scene in the chapter “Anthropocene,” which she told IN was her favourite to write because of the research she conducted. Described as a “BDSM story about climate change guilt,” the story places Myriam in the role of a power-hungry CEO at an air-conditioning company, with Allison as her employee. 

“One of the most interesting things about ‘Anthropocene’ is that I didn’t want to write a post-apocalyptic climate change story. I was reading expert predictions on global warming and thought I would set it in the very near future,” Lacroix explained. “At the time I wrote it, everyone in my workshop was like, ‘This is in the near future where there are fires and people dying in heat waves…’ Now if you read it, it doesn’t sound like the future at all.”

While the narratives in each story may seem surreal and meta, at its heart the book is an expression of queerness, love and connection, with many emotional anchors readers can relate to – especially about the complexities of love. 

It also creates queer characters who are specific and multifaceted, showing that 2SLGBTQI+ individuals do not have a uniform narrative. “We have so many different stories. If I can write something very multidimensional, then I’ll have done my part.” 

How It Works Out is a tender, emotional and hysterical read. Lacroix is able to take real-life situations and feelings, and put an imaginative twist on them that showcases how love can truly take our minds down several paths. It illustrates how beautiful, weird, fragile and confusing our feelings for others can be. 

Some of us may be lucky enough to figure out how it works, and others may continue to dive into various worlds trying to find a reality in which it does – the latter being something I’ll admit to constantly doing.

How it Works Out by Myriam Lacroix (published by Doubleday Canada) is now out and can be purchased wherever books are sold. 

STEPHAN PETAR is a born and raised Torontonian, known for developing lifestyle, entertainment, travel, historical and 2SLGBTQI+ content. He enjoys wandering the streets of any destination he visits, where he’s guaranteed to discover something new or meet someone who will inspire his next story.

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