Consolation by Michael Redhill

In books read on August 30, 2007

This was a really enjoyable read; a story of early Toronto (1850ish if I remember correctly) intertwined a story of another Toronto family in 1997. Each half of the story has a pretty similar weighting and I didn't mind switching between the two because it didn't happen too often and both halves were entertaining and written in similar styles.

The modern day story is woven around the death of David Hollis, a historical researcher, and the historical story meets up with his research in a way that's not too obvious but such that we're recognisably reading one story rather than two.

The characters were the best aspect of the writing and felt like real people: not always consistent, not always nice, not always understanding what their actions would mean, but not completely ignorant of this either. However for a story that is very much about a place the location didn't really come alive to me except in a few passages in the historical story. I liked the fact that the story involved early photography though and these bits of the story worked very well, especially as some old photographs are included in the book.

I'm not sure if I think it's Booker prize winning material, or even shortlist material - although it's a weighty book it was a quick read and didn't seem terribly substantial. Definitely a good read though.


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