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Digital Subscriptions > Quill & Quire > OCTOBER 2016 > Reflections and refractions

Reflections and refractions

With a tightly integrated triptych, Michael Helm has crafted his most intricate novel yet

★ After James

Michael Helm

McClelland & Stewart

MICHAEL HELM has spent his career probing the relationship between the intellectual and the physical. He tackled the subject in his first two novels, The Projectionist and In the Place of Last Things, by exploring two contradictory versions of traditional masculinity at war within a single character, flavouring that exploration with a moral tension intensified by plot points lifted from crime and road novels. It was there again, though less directly, in 2010’s sprawling Cities of Refuge, which moved more slowly, but saw Helm broadening his interests to include the crossing paths of characters from diverse backgrounds, each coping with the aftermath of personal cataclysm. He combines all these notions in his latest, and most subtle, novel.

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KIDLIT SPOTLIGHT It's middle-grade fiction's tome to shine Reviews of new books by M.G. Vassanji, Douglas Coupland and Kathy Page