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Digital Subscriptions > Quill & Quire > JUNE 2016 > Past imperfect

Past imperfect

Ian Colford’s third book is a harrowing exploration of its central character’s diseased mind


Perfect World

Ian Colford

Freehand Books

HALIFAX WRITER Ian Colford is very good at crafting scenes of violence. His previous novel, The Crimes of Hector Tomás, contains a sequence in which the central character is strapped to a metal bedframe and administered electric shocks – a moment so potent and brutal the reader experiences it almost viscerally. So capable is Colford of capturing the character’s agony on the page that the scene appears to go on for much longer than it actually does.

There is a similar scene in Colford’s new book, which is otherwise very different from its predecessor. Set in an anonymous South American country, The Crimes of Hector Tomás is a sprawling tale of political strife and totalitarian violence, painted on a grand scale. Perfect World, by contrast, is a much more intimate work, smaller in both size and focus. It tells the story of Tom Brackett, a family man who seems to have escaped from the shadow of his mentally ill mother and alcoholic father, but eventually succumbs to the depredations of a disease he is incapable of understanding or controlling.

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