Peter Oliva is a novelist and journalist whose work has appeared in Canada, France, Spain, Italy and Japan. His writing has been called "a Calvino-like intersection of art and reality," and "a complex meditation on suffering and love." He has written for numerous periodicals, including BRICK, Canadian Geographic, The Globe & Mail, and Japan's largest newspaper, The Daily Yomiuri.

His first novel was listed by The Oxford Companion to Canadian Literature as one of the four "most technically and imaginatively accomplished novels produced between 1983 and 1996." His second novel won numerous awards, including the Writer's Trust of Canada Award for Fiction in 2000.

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Some Quotes from the Critics

“Deliciously crazy. The City of Yes gives a delicate, cunning and generous version of life itself through the sequence of characters and stories taken from this small village of Japan, touched by the Western culture and by the absurd.”
—Le Monde, Paris

“Peter Oliva has written an extraordinary first novel. Exquisitely shaped and perfectly controlled, it establishes a tiny corner of Canada – a coal-mining town in the Crowsnest Pass – as a magical world where myth, legend and momentous heartbreak hang in the air and haunt the inhabitants... Drowning in Darkness takes the reader on a startling leap of imagination.” —The Globe & Mail, Editor’s Choice, 1993

“An extraordinary discovery! A wise and rewarding book!” —Alberto Manguel

“Grab for your imagination. Like the methane gas that robs coal-miners of their lives, Drowning in Darkness will take your breath away... It plunges us into the coal-mining community of the Pass. It is the raw material of the Pass and its people Oliva has taken and worked, shaped and squeezed into this beautiful gem of a book”
—Edmonton Journal

“Ondaatje’s way of talking about immigrant experience in a poetic and expressive manner in In the Skin of a Lion has been adapted by Peter Oliva in Drowning in Darkness which takes place in the coal-mining community of the Crowsnest Pass... Oliva’s novel combines history and dream in a complex meditation on suffering and love.”
Listed as one of the four “most technically and imaginatively accomplished novels produced between 1983 to 1996.”
—Oxford Companion to Canadian Literature, 2nd ed., 1997

“The City of Yes is a Calvino-like intersection of art and reality, a portrait of life in which it is not the picture that is most important but the brush strokes... Oliva has proven himself to be one of Canada’s finest literary authors with The City of Yes.”
—Quill & Quire, May 1999

“…what an exuberant, multi-skeined traveller’s tale this is—as full of silent meaning as a haiku, as elegant as calligraphy, comic, compassionate and entirely magical. ..This one-of-a-kind literary invention captured the jury through the sheer joy experienced in its reading.”
—Jury’s Citation, Writer’s Trust of Canada Award, March 29, 2000

“The City of Yes is a glorious literary feast.” —Paul Quarrington

Drowning in Darkness

A tale of unrequited love, Italian superstitions and the origin of tortellini....

City of Yes

Alive with history, myth, and wonder, The City of Yes is a luminous novel of parallel journeys through old and present-day Japan.