"The Parabolist is an inventive, poetic, and thoroughly wonderful book. It lays claims on murder mystery and literary fiction, and satisfies the reader with the best pleasures of both."
-Vincent Lam, author of Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures
“With dazzling skill, Ruddock blends his intricate knowledge of medicine into an exciting, compelling, and expertly layered mystery."
-Anthony Da Sa, author of Barnacle Love
"Packed with smarts, wit, and the spirit of Roberto Bolaño, The Parabolist envisions Toronto as an antic place full of characters willing to go to the brink for good sex, good love or a good poem. This big-brained, warm-hearted debut was a joy to read right up to its bold conclusion."
-Kyo Maclear, author of The Letter Opener
"The Parabolist has a strong pulse that will keep your heart beating until the end."
-The Globe and Mail
Introducing Nicholas Ruddock and The Parabolist—a pyrotechnical, comical debut about love and longing, medicine and literature, murder and mystery.
Part comedy, part mystery, The Parabolist is a searingly smart and funny novel about murder, sex, the medical establishment, poetry and vigilante justice on the streets of Toronto in 1975.
Told through interlacing narratives, the story funnels towards the eye of an unsolved crime: on a rainy summer night, a woman is raped and very nearly murdered, but for the intervention of two drunken vigilantes who kill her attacker before fleeing the scene. The only clue the police have about their identities: a slab of Crisco shortening found on the victim.
This is a satirical, whimsical, dangerous and tender story of earnest youth and their ardent desire for love, acceptance and fulfillment.
- Doubleday Canada, Canada, February 2010
Nominated for the 2011 Arthur Ellis Award for Best First Crime Novel
Shortlisted for the 2011 Toronto Book Award
Praise for The Parabolist
"...The Parabolist more than satisfies. Readers will likely find themselves completely caught up in the events of the book, its language and its architecture. It truly is a thing of beauty."
“Passionate, offhand, deeply charming and deeply original, The Parabolist is a fabulous gift to Canadian readers.”
-Damian Tarnopolsky, author of Goya’s Dog
"Befitting of Ben Elton or Nick Hornby, yet with a literary sensibility entirely its own... a rivetting yet bloody mystery... there's a creative new voice on the CanLit horizon..."
"What is it with doctors turned brilliant writers? From Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to Anton Chekhov, there has been a curious knack. In Canada (and alive) we have Vincent Lam, winner of the 2006 Giller Prize for Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures, and now Nicholas Ruddock, who has created a playful, literary mystery that will satisfy crime buffs as well as the literati."
-Winnipeg Free Press
Praise for Nicholas Ruddock
“Ruddock has a refined ear for dialogue and a mischievous sense of humour. He also knows how to bring a story to a memorable conclusion.”
-David Bezmozgis, from The Journey Prize Anthology #19 2007
“Nobody can mistake the ingenuity of Nicholas Ruddock, whose story, ‘The Steamer’, is a terrific read. Ruddock has talent to burn; he writes with verve and style.”
-Madeleine Thien, from Prism International Summer 2006
“Accomplished, original, witty and wise, ‘The Housepainters’ is a wonderful piece of writing.”
-Helen Humphreys (judge of the Antigonish fiction prize)
“Our first-prize winner, ‘The Housepainters,’ evokes obvious masterpieces of absurdist and experimental drama: the impish exchanges of Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, the hypnotic stasis of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot and the provocations of Luigi Pirandello’s Six Characters in Search of an Author.”
-Richard Cumyn (The Antigonish Review)
"The Parabolist more than satisfies. Readers will likely find themselves completely caught up in the events of the book, its language and its architecture. It truly is a thing of beauty."