The Wild Mandrake - Dundurn

The Wild Mandrake

A Memoir

Published August 2023


On the cusp of adulthood, a young writer’s life is stalled as he faces cancer that keeps coming back.

Doctors used to tell him he was cured. That was a long time ago. Ever since he first left home at age nineteen, writer Jason Jobin has had cancer. Every five years, like clockwork, it relapses, and yet he always pulls through, surrounded by friends and family but isolated by illness. Chemotherapy, surgeries, radiation — these persist, but they aren’t the milestones of his life. They can’t be, he won’t let them be.

From helicoptering into the Yukon backcountry to teaching in an elite writing program, Jason strives to enter adulthood with some normalcy, but his is the life of “a special case.” And he does live. He lives working at a deli for minimum wage as his students come down the hill to shop and ask what he’s doing there. He lives measuring out nausea pills and benzos while his roommates drink and smoke and party. He lives lying to girlfriends about past diagnoses because what can you say? What do you build on rubble? He lives high and low and in between. Again he is sick, again he is cured. It’s miraculous. A great gift. But never enough.

Told in short glimpses, this story redefines what it means to survive. Jobin brings together the illuminated moments of loss and joy as he navigates chronic illness and builds from it something new and wildly unexpected.



Jason Jobin

Jason Jobin’s writing has been longlisted for the CBC Nonfiction Prize, and been published in Cleaver Magazine, Pithead Chapel, and the Sun Magazine. His stories have won a National Magazine Award and been featured in the 2018 and 2019 Journey Prize anthology. He lives in Victoria.

Book Details

August 2023
5.5x8.5 in
208 pp
August 2023
208 pp
August 2023
208 pp