A singular, stunning debut that transcends and transfigures genre—at once a bold retelling of biblical tales and an unforgettable contemporary coming-of-age story, connected in collapsing time across millennia.
There are few love stories in the holy books. Love is what ruins. Love is what costs. Love is a flaming sword at our backs, a garden left to ruin and to wild.
In Dayspring, Anthony Oliveira brings to vibrant, glorious life the gospel according to the disciple Christ loved—his companion in the days before the crucifixion, the only instrument that remembers with fidelity his sound.
Sacred, profane, and rich with explicit desire and a poetic attention to form, Dayspring weaves electric and heart-wrenching stories of passion, grief, destruction, and survival into a narrative unmoored in space and time, one that re-examines and re-frames great and doomed figures from scripture and history, even as it casts its keen eye on the trials of modern life.
Seamlessly blending fiction, memoir, and verse in the exhilarating tradition of Anne Carson and Madeline Miller, Dayspring is an immersive, mesmerizing work, one that wrenches beauty from cataclysm and finds bliss in apocalypse.
About the Author
Anthony Oliveira is a National Magazine and GLAAD Award-winning author, film programmer, pop culture critic, podcaster, and PhD living in Toronto.
"What can one say about a masterpiece? Refracting and recombining Christ's journey in the Gospels with the contemporary queer experience—very often the author's own—Anthony Oliveira commingles the earthly and the divine in a deliciously daring work that defies categorization. God is love, we are told, and Dayspring celebrates and interrogates that love in all its forms, illuminating the sacred and the profane in equal measure. Bracing and breathtaking, it is a glorious gift to the soul and the senses. This is a magnificent debut!" —David Demchuk, author of Red X
“Are you ready to be saved, slain, and resurrected by the power of the written word? Are you ready to redefine the meaning of sacredness in the name of all that is queer and holy? It is time to read Dayspring by Anthony Oliveira. This incredible work of verse not only defies genre, but reinvents it entirely, bending space and time to tell the story of Jesus (as you have always imagined, but never seen Him) and the disciple He loved in poetic language that evokes all the passion of the Psalms. Astonishingly beautiful and unrepentantly sexy, this is a book that is sure to both heal and challenge its readers in all the most important ways. To open its pages is to open your heart to a vision of love that is as deeply, tragically, and courageously human as it is divine.” —Kai Cheng Thom, author of Falling Back in Love with Being Human
“Anthony Oliveira’s literary debut delivers a deluge of erotic and sensuous love that challenges our expectations of religious devotion. ‘the body is a leaky vessel’ announces the beloved disciple in a melancholic meditation on the crucifixion, and Dayspring, in all its carnality, overflows with the passion of Oliveira’s appeal for a Christian love that is unapologetically queer. In a masterful display of literary experimentation that explodes the boundary between verse and prose and that shuttles its readers between pre- and postmodernity, Dayspring highlights the eroticism of the Christian mystical tradition and, like Hadewijch, Mechthild, and Teresa before it, teaches that ecstatic love can be both joyful and excruciatingly painful, sacred and profane, human and divine.” —Kris J. Trujillo, Assistant Professor, Department of Comparative Literature and Director of Studies, Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality, The University of Chicago “Dayspring is a grand experiment of language and queer love that succeeds on every level. Oliveira’s prose is heartfelt and poignant, climbing to grand heights while weaving in his quieter moments of fresh and sly dialogue. The love in this book is the sacred made flesh and genuine, relatable in a way scripture rarely touches. In short, this is a masterpiece.” —Chip Zdarsky, writer of Batman (DC Comics), Daredevil and Spider-Man (Marvel Comics), and co-creator of Sex Criminals
“Reading Dayspring, I found myself reminded of how I read the Bible as a closeted queer teenager: Alternating between re-reading a passage over and over, finding resonance in one moment and dissonance in another, and feverishly skipping around, opening pages at random to see what gift or curse each had for me. Picking it up at times in search of comfort, at others in search of confrontation; sometimes with irritation, sometimes with a desperate hunger. If there’s another way to read this utterly unclassifiable book, it evaded me. Dayspring confounds, challenges, and reveals like only a sacred text can.” —Chris Stedman, author of IRL and Faitheist and writer and host of Unread