Primary Obsessions Charles Demers blog tour



The endearing and unflappable Dr. Annick Boudreau regularly confronts a myriad of mental health issues in her psychiatric practice at the West Coast Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Clinic. But even Annick is stunned when Sanjay, a young patient who suffers from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, is arrested for the brutal murder of his roommate.

While Sanjay is tortured by repeated violent thoughts, he is horrified by them and Annick is convinced that he would never enact one of them in real life. But the police and prosecutor are convinced that they have caught the perpetrator and aren’t interested in looking very hard.


I am pleased to let you all know that the novel Primary Obsessions by Charles Demers is shortlisted for the 2021 Bill Duthie Booksellers Choice Award.

The story starts off a bit creepy, that grabbed my attention from the first page. The chapters certainly made me go weak at the knees.

I totally agree with Nathan Ripley author of Find You in the Dark what he says about Primary Obsessions. Delivers a nuanced portrayal of stigmatization of mental illness in collision with crime.

Here is an extract from Primary Obsessions to show you just what I’m talking about in how creepy it is.

Do you want me to keep going.

I want you to move at whatever pace makes you feel comfortable. Don’t worry about time.

Okay. Well, like I go to pull out the knife, but she’s still breathing. And then every, like, breath she takes is it’s like of gasping? And it spatters, everywhere, blood. All over me, all over her.

It’s really important for me that you know that me asking this, it’s not about judgment.

No I know.

I’m just trying to get a fuller picture.

No I know, I know, he said, and was beginning to cry now, ignoring the box of tissues on the stand next to him, and instead wiping his eyes, his nose all of it with the heel of his palm. I just don’t even like to say it out loud. Because it feels more real?

Yeah, he said, she wa es breaking over the shore, his cheeks flooding with salty rivulets dully reflecting the soft lamplight in the room. The overhead fluorescent were off. They were always off. I keep stabbing her and stabbing her, her eyes, her like her front. Like her, her down.

Her genitals ?

The young man sobbed nodded and sobbed.

It’s okay.

It’s not okay, he screamed quietly, grinding his teeth. She’s my mother.

She’s helpless. What kind of person does that to their own mother?

During sessions like these, Dr Annick Boudreau wished she still had her hair.


Charles Demers (born 1980) is a Canadian writer, comedian and political activist. He was born in Vancouver, British Columbia. He is a lecturer at the University of British Columbia, where he teaches a Creative Writing course about writing comedy.

Demers has published three books: a novel and two collections of essays. His first essay collection, Vancouver Special, was nominated for a Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize. He also frequently performs comedy at live venues across Canada and on the CBC Radio One, where he often appears on the show The Debaters. Demers was one of the hosts of the CityNews show The List. He used to be the membership secretary for the Coalition of Progressive Electors.

He is the voice of Walter from Beat Bugs.

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