Set along a worn strip of road in the heart of Scarborough sits the Nap-Away Motel, serving as the central location of Nadja Lubiw-Hazard’s debut novel The Nap-Away Motel. Written with passion and warmth, The Nap-Away Motel follows the narratives of four main characters and their intersecting lives. Suleiman, a compassionate man mourning the death of his young daughter, seeks to rebind his fractured family; Ori, a product of the neglectful foster care system, is searching for their lost twin brother; and Tiffany, a young girl trapped under the thumb of her troubled mother, spends her days fantasizing about a better, magical life. The fourth character is, of course, the Nap-Away Motel itself; the silent force representing the paradox of closeness and isolation existing simultaneously.
It comes as no surprise that Lubiw-Hazard is a longtime vegan, as she has a particular knack for expressing empathy in her writing. Though our protagonists hail from vastly different backgrounds, their acknowledgement and care for each other and the animals around them is ever-present. Lubiw-Hazard effortlessly weaves concepts that parallel vegan philosophy into the novel. For example, the sudden death of a kitten prompts a moral conundrum: how do you discuss death with a child? Lubiw-Hazard poses this question, and many others, that force readers to consider the meaning of concepts like truth, death, and harm reduction; concepts that have deep ties to vegan communities.
With that said, both vegans and non-vegans alike with a taste for literary fiction and character drama will enjoy The Nap-Away Motel. Lubiw-Hazard seamlessly transitions between the perspective of three different characters whose stories intertwine. Though Suleiman, Ori, and Tiffany are all very different people in very different stages of life, Lubiw-Hazard presents a narrative in which these three characters all, in their own ways, come of age. The Nap-Away Motel is clearly a passion project for Lubiw-Hazard, as conveyed through the richness of the text and intuitive character development. Insightful and, at times, harrowing, The Nap-Away Motel is a resounding piece of fiction.