cover image Consolation

Consolation

Michael Redhill, Author . Little, Brown $24.99 (340p) ISBN 978-0-316-73498-1

Redhill's signature poetic touch and finely drawn characters are on display in his second novel (after story collection Fidelity and novel Martin Sloane ), an homage to Toronto, from its rough and tumble past to its contemporary civility. After avid historian and archivist David Hollis dies, his widow, Marianne, takes on the task of confirming his unfounded claim about the location of the long-lost first photographs ever taken of the city. She's joined by her soon to be son-in-law John, an earnest writer's assistant who seeks to bring his fiancée and mother-in-law together in their grief. Their examination of the past, both in the purview of David's completed life and the panoramic city history, is interwoven with the story of Jem Hallam, a Londoner who moved to Toronto in its Wild West days and found himself allied with a female portrait model and a brokenhearted Irishman. The stories fit together in an unexpected way, and Redhill's taste for quiet examination of relationships, grief and small failures of love make for a thought-provoking read. (Jan.)