Heroes

Ray Robertson. Biblioasis (Consortium/Perseus, U.S. dist.; University of Toronto Press, Canadian dist.), $16.95 trade paper (286p) ISBN 978-1-927428-99-3
Peter Bayle is the unlikely hero of this picaresque novel by Robertson (I Was There the Night He Died). He's a philosophy grad student whose specialty subject, the third-century C.E. Greek skeptic Sextus Empiricus, leads him to remind himself throughout the novel of the virtues of remaining unmoved and distant from the turmoil around him. Rather than face the prospect of defending his thesis and addressing the question of starting a new chapter of his life, Bayle accepts an assignment in small-town Kansas to write a magazine piece on the local minor-league hockey team. He finds himself drawn to the dilemma the town faces about sustaining a hockey team they can't afford to keep or to lose, but he wavers unsuccessfully between wanting to help his new friends and wanting to remain distant from their problems and his own. Threaded throughout are flashes from his past, including memories of his Maple Leafsā€“loving father and his much-loved vibrant sister, revealing that Bayle's resolute aloofness doesn't come from a clearly thought-out philosophical standpoint but from buried feelings of pain and loss. This is an emotionally complex novel, and readers won't have to be sports fans to root for its hero. Agent: Samantha Haywood, Transatlantic Agency. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 05/04/2015
Release date: 04/01/2015
Genre: Fiction
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