Perpetual Motion

Graeme Gibson, Author Penguin Books $9.95 (283p) ISBN 978-0-14-010382-3
There is a wealth of detail in this well-researched, panoramic novel set in rural 19th century Ontario, where the doomed Robert Fraser is a reluctant farmer and inveterate dreamer. He spends his time trying to devise a perpetual-motion machine to relieve him of his labors in controlling nature. The novel begins as Fraser unearths a prehistoric skeleton with his horse-drawn plow. He soon determines to reap profits from the natural past (by exhibiting the specimen) to finance the construction of his toil-free future. His course of action over the ensuing 20 years yields only tragic consequences for him and his family and for nature itself. Gibson succeeds in implying an analogy between the folly of Fraser's project and contemporary environmental decimation through land speculation and development. Fictively, however, there is much lacking in character development and profluence of plot. Many physical descriptions are vivid, but Fraser and others remain as impenetrable as the forest that surrounds them. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/25/1988
Release date: 05/01/1988
Mass Market Paperbound - 272 pages - 978-0-7710-3462-6
Paperback - 281 pages - 978-0-7710-9399-9
Hardcover - 283 pages - 978-0-312-60132-4
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