the push ashley audrain

Toronto author rising up global bestseller lists wrote debut thriller in local cafe

The debut novel from a Toronto author has quickly become a favourite of readers around the globe after topping worldwide bestseller lists.

Ashley Audrain's The Push has already been sold for dozens of translation-rights deals, as well as film and television rights to help tell her thrilling story on the small and silver screens.

A psychological drama, the book follows a family that breaks apart when a new mother begins to realise that raising a baby is nothing like what she'd hoped for. Endless exhaustion leads to protagonist Blythe Connor becoming convinced that something is wrong with her daughter while those closest to her dismiss those fears.

It's a grippingly tense page-turner that will challenge what you know about motherhood and tell the story of what happens when no one believes a desperate woman.

The Push wasted no time garnering international attention, having appeared on bestseller lists from The Sunday TimesThe New York Times and the Vancouver Sun. Global outlets such as Vogue and Stylist have also recommended the book as being worth the hype surrounding it.

As far as debut novels go, it's just about as perfect as the former Penguin Canada publicity director could have hoped.

Although The Push isn't set in any specific city, Audrain says she definitely had Toronto on the mind while writing it.

"I did picture parts of my own neighbourhood near Queen and Ossington for inspiration while I was writing some scenes," Audrain told blogTO. "Sometimes the visual of a particular corner or street can be helpful. But I would love to set a future novel properly in Toronto."

Much like many aspiring writers, time spent sitting at local coffee shops played heavily into the creation of this work.

"I wrote most of The Push at a place called Luna Cafe at the corner of Dovercourt and Argyle," told Audrain. "Sadly, it closed (before COVID) and is very missed by the neighbourhood."

With musical acts like Drake and The Weeknd also topping different kinds of charts worldwide, Audrain has become the latest Toronto product to draw attention to the city and its growing arts scene.

"The success of Toronto's art scene globally is remarkable, and I think authors like Rupi Kaur are the best example of this. There's a huge concentration of artists here, and I think the diversity of these artists is what makes it so successful," she told blogTO.

Audrain has already begun work on her second novel, The Whispers. After such a successful debut, book lovers across the city and around the world will be eagerly waiting to see what comes next.

Lead photo by

Ashley Audrain


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