I’ve admired David Gilmour and his novels for many years and dropped whatever I was reading to rip into his latest offering, whatever it was. I believe him to be one of the finest writers Canada has. His characters however, are entirely atypical to the Canadian novel.
They are complex, not easily explained, possessed of powerfully conflicting motivations and emotions, and in some cases, deeply unpleasant.
They are also a great deal more interesting than the standard.
After about twenty five years of reading the modern novel, I think one is largely able to see where the writer is going a fair amount of the time. Far from being a bore or a failed parlour trick, this can work to mutual advantage when a favourite writer mines their own life and does so with absolute honesty.
Through six novels and his bestselling memoir The Film Club, published a few years back, David Gilmour has consistently hit the sweet spot for great modern fiction. He’s a literary guy to be sure, but everything moves like a gazelle, and because Gilmour has a light touch chronicling flawed human behaviour (always more interesting than correct human behaviour) there’s a lot to like here.
In his latest novel, The Perfect Order of Things, Gilmour has mined a storied life (his own) and has fashioned a tale of literary brinksmanship, a curious amalgam of sex and romance, suicide, the Beatles, Tolstoy and finally redemption (of a sort).
He single-handedly made me a reader years ago with How Boys See Girls and I’ve been hooked since. He’s my favourite novelist, full stop, and I can't wait to introduce him to you again on October 13th!
- David Worsley