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Consolation: A Novel Hardcover – Aug. 29 2006

1.7 out of 5 stars 3 ratings

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Hardcover, Aug. 29 2006
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“Some of the best historical fiction about Toronto. . . . Home and muse, the city that has ignited Redhill’s imagination will captivate and haunt the imagination of readers of this luminous novel.” —Vancouver Sun
“Redhill succeeds admirably, evoking the past in its every strangely familiar detail. Toronto is not the only city of whose history it might be said ‘a hint . . . is all we have.’ Consolation shows that, for the ready imagination, a hint may be all that is needed.” — The Gazette (Montreal)
“Tricky, absorbing. . . . The book is enlivened by lovely tropes for everything from the weather . . . to the oddly animated nature of landfill. . . . A novel whose preoccupations have been nurtured and earned. . . . In Consolation, Redhill proves himself ready to make the fateful nature of photography into a matter of collective destiny, for both a small grieving family and a vast incurious city.”–The New York Times Book Review

“Michael Redhill has written a gift to Toronto. The city, with its imperfect past and present, is central to Consolation, a beautiful work of fiction about life, love and land, and the way people cope with the loss of all three… a novel replete with stunning imagery, ambivalent accolades, true-to-life characters, dialogue that sounds utterly real and moments of literary brilliance…” — Winnipeg Free Press

Consolation’s elegance, like Redhill’s many descriptions of old Toronto, is in its architecture, as it moves easily through two interrelated stories. . . . Redhill shows himself a masterful researcher and compiler of details — exactly the kind of writer you need to tell a story of yesterday.” — The Globe and Mail

“It may be deemed THE novel of Toronto…. Vital and fascinating… Redhill’s prose is fluid and evocative…. It may not always be the image city fathers could prefer, but it has a fine ring of truth.” — Edmonton Journal

“A beautiful and dreamy story, gorgeously written and movingly told, about the myriad ways the past lingers just below the surface of the present and inevitably shapes the future. It is the story of a family, but also the story of Toronto, a city that's constantly recreating itself and, in so doing, constantly shrugging off its awkward past…. Redhill's recreation of old Toronto is so vivid you can almost hear the rumble of carriage wheels on the cobblestones as you turn the pages.” — Calgary Herald

About the Author

Michael Redhill is the publisher and one of the editors of Brick, a literary magazine, and the author of the novel Martin Sloane, a finalist for the 2001 Giller Prize, and the short story collection Fidelity. He has also written four poetry collections, including Asphodel, published in 1997, and Light-Crossing, published in 2001. His most recent works for the theatre are Goodness and Building Jerusalem, winner of a Dora Award.

Consolation, Redhill’s second novel, was shortlisted for the 2007 Toronto Book Award. In an interview with the Edmonton Journal, he described how he was inspired by a real photograph taken in thirteen parts in the winter of 1856 as part of a campaign to entice Queen Victoria to choose the city as the capital of pre-Confederation Canada: “I knew there was something in the pictures I wanted to write about. But the more I scribbled things down, the more I began to recognize a resonance between that dead city, no stitch of which exists anymore, and modern Toronto. The attitude and striving is still prevalent.” He adds: “It’s a strange, self-loathing city that at the same time is constantly striving to be world class and noticed. The city never tends to think about its own needs; it thinks about what other people might find impressive.”

Michael Redhill lives with his partner and their two sons in France.

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Reviewed in Canada on February 16, 2008
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Reviewed in Canada on September 6, 2007
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Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 12, 2008
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