Toronto Book Awards – Featuring The Parabolist

The 2011 Toronto Book Awards is being covered by our guest blogger Christine Sweeton. To read more about her, click here.


Even though first-time novelist Nicholas Ruddock currently lives in Guelph and has lived across Canada, from Newfoundland to the Yukon Territory, Toronto remains the city of his youth. He grew up in the Eglinton-Avenue Road area of Toronto and attended University of Toronto and the University of Toronto Medical School. It is this setting that he chose for his riveting novel, The Parabolist.

The Parabolist is set in 1975 and focuses on a group of medical students taking a poetry class together at the University of Toronto. The story is told through interlacing narratives and the plot is framed around a chilling unsolved crime. On a rainy summer night, a woman is raped and very nearly murdered, however, the act is interrupted by two drunken strangers who kill her attacker before fleeing the scene. Part comedy, part poetry, The Parabolist is a novel about murder, sex, the medical establishment, poetry, and vigilante justice in Toronto.

Besides being nominated for The Toronto Book Awards this year, Ruddock’s first novel has not been short on accolades. NOW Magazine called it, “Extremely well written.” The book was a finalist for The Arthur Ellis Prize: Best First Crime Novel. named The Parabolist one of the Best Books of the Month in February, 2010. The novel also received a glowing review by Claire Cameron in The Globe and Mail, during which she states, “Ruddock is a smart and literary writer.”

The Parabolist has a strong pulse that will keep your heart beating until the end.”

The Globe and Mail

The Toronto Book Awards judges describe Ruddock’s novel as follows:

“Cadavers, med students, Mexican poetry and a smattering of Crisco are but a few of the ingredients in this literary page-turner. With a vivid cast of characters and evocative prose, first-time novelist Nicholas Ruddock takes us on a delirious ride through the streets of 1970s Toronto as an intricate mystery unfolds. Darkly humourous, sensual and erudite, The Parabolist is at once an auspicious debut and a sumptuous, adrenaline-fueled read.”

Stay tuned for my upcoming review of Nicholas Ruddock’s The Parabolist (Anchor Canada).


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