I first came across Michael Redhill a few years ago at an archives conference of all places. He had come as a keynote speaker to discuss his new (at the time) book Consolation. The book, which includes links to some beautiful historic photographs from the city of Toronto archives, was a good read. I enjoyed it. Years passed, until last fall when I bought his first book Martin Sloane at a used book sale. Then the book sat on my shelf until a couple weeks ago when I finally picked it up. I am not sure why I waited so long, I liked his talk and I liked his book. The waiting was a bad move on my part- I loved Martin Sloane! Although not having the advantage of being archivally themed, I think I liked it even more than Consolation.
Martin Sloane is the story of a young student, Jolene, who encounters and embarks on an affair with a mysterious Irish-Canadian artist, Martin Sloane. Then one day he is gone, just walks off in the night. Jolene must cope with his departure, which she doesn't do very well. Then a glimpse of him from across the ocean and she is dragged back into his story. Good plot, good characters (although more than once I wanted to smack Jolene back into reality), good writing. For sure worth picking up.
John Bemrose I also discovered at a talk. I saw him speak with other Canadian male authors at IFOA 2009. I had heard of him before, but somehow he got lost in my pile of 'to-reads.' Although he didn't enthrall me at the reading, I noticed his book on my shelf and thought I would give it a go. Well, I should have left it on my shelf. Sorry, but Island Walkers, about a small town in Ontario that revolves around the local mill, gets a big 'MEH' from me. Just not great. Felt like a male version of Anne Marie MacDonald (see review from earlier). Oh well, they can't all be my favorite.