W. P. “Bill” Kinsella is the award-winning writer of dozens of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry works, including Shoeless Joe (which was made into the feature film Field of Dreams). Kinsella won the Leacock Award in 1987 and in 1993 was made an Officer of the Order of Canada. In 2005, he was awarded the Order of British Columbia, and in 2009, he was awarded the George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award. He died on September 16, 2016.
On the day that a 2003 citywide power outage submerges Toronto in darkness, a teenage boy finds a missive of his own: a copy of Margaret Cavendish’s The Blazing-World, one of the first science fiction novels ever written. The boy, obsessed with the Choose Your Own Adventure series, interprets the coincidence of finding the book during the blackout as a premonition, and begins looking for proof that the end of the world is near.
A Description of the Blazing World interlaces two narratives in a novel about the city in the new millennium: a crowded space that incubates signs of an apocalypse that never quite materializes. But it is this very threat of imminent danger—that everything could go up in blazes—that drives a reclusive man and a lonely boy to search for their respective revelations.
‘The nature of such mystical questing requires a steadiness of pace and a commanding style in order to prevent it floating up and away into the unfathomable … Lohrey’s skill is in keeping us suspended in the cocoon of an idea – "Is this all there is?" – a question that hums in and out of our own lives during the day, but which can suddenly ring out on dark nights with a deafening thunder.’ —Saturday Paper
‘Lohrey’s language throughout the novel is a searing delight … Without patronising, disparaging or becoming a sentimental accomplice, she gets inside the head of a serious man congenitally on the brink.’ —Age
‘Another deft life-study by Amanda Lohrey, whose recent narratives have a sardonic edge with metaphysical reach.’ —Monthly
‘The story of Richard Kline is marked by a … luminous wit, along with the quiet courage of a mind willing to countenance mysteries that our secular age refuses to broach.’ —Australian
Seeking solitude, Elizabeth's husband, Henry, has holed up in her sister's Vermont summerhouse to begin writing the book he hopes will transform his life. But Henry is more alone and less isolated than he bargained for: A year earlier his brother-in-law, Fitz, dropped dead in the same house. Fitz's ghost is everywhere, especially so after Henry inadvertently discovers Fitz's intimate life story stored in the Macintosh in the study.