Greg Hollingshead’s remarkable novel of betrayal and redemption explores the farthest reaches of human experience, in a story that will immediately capture fans of Bedlam, his latest masterwork.
When Tim Wakelin heads north, in search of a story about a local healer, he enters a world that is real yet strange. Drawn into a beautiful but unforgiving landscape, he quickly finds his veneer of control stripped away. This novel of unbridled power and original sensibility explores the fine line between madness and sanity, and between physical and spiritual reality.
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If anyone needs healing, it's Tim Wakelin, freelance journalist and recent widower. When he comes to the small Canadian mining town of Grant, Wakelin thinks it's to do a story on a purported faith healer; instead, he discovers a balm for his own wounded soul. Healing comes in the person of Caroline Troyer, a woman with miraculous, if unpredictable, powers. Passing himself off as a man in search of property in the country, Wakelin convinces Caroline, whose father is a realtor, to show him around. It isn't long before he realizes that far from being a charlatan, this woman is the real McCoy; on impulse he decides not to write about her after all and to actually buy that mythical cabin in the woods he's been using as a cover story. But Wakelin's arrival upsets a precarious balance in Caroline's personal life as she struggles to separate herself from her controlling father and embittered mother. Internal struggles become externalized when Wakelin gets lost in the woods and she must save him.
Greg Hollingshead's tale of love, betrayal, and redemption in the backwoods of Canada features interesting characters and a fascinating premise; unfortunately, the writing is often too overwrought to bear the weight of the story. Describing a meal, he writes: "Eggs of crumbling yolk and rubber-white albumen on a carbon laminate, dank toast, coffee a rusted knife-edge of heartburn, thin and without taste. A breakfast something like a story about a healer, something like a saint's life. Of dubious provenance. The dog's breakfast of narratives. Hearsay, exaggeration, wishful thinking, local legend. Followed now through a confusion of smoke and opinion, in a place for locals, a meetinghouse of initiates, with the blanket of the familiar draped all round. Cozy as heaven, old as hell." If a plate of bacon and eggs can elicit this kind of drama, what can we expect when something important happens? Despite its faults, however, The Healer has one ace in the hole: Caroline Troyer, an original and satisfyingly complex character who consistently confounds expectations. --Margaret PriorAbout the Author:
GREG HOLLINGSHEAD has won the Governor General’s Award forFiction for his collection The Roaring Girl and the Rogers Writers’Trust Fiction Prize for The Healer. His work has been shortlisted for allmajor fiction awards in Canada, and his most recent novel, Bedlam, wasshortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best Book (Caribbean andCanada). He lives in Edmonton.
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Book Description Flamingo, 1999. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0002257971