June 23, 2009

Time for Lives of the Saints?

Last week I finished reading Nino Ricci's The Origin of Species, and I loved it. I saw him on a panel at Blue Metropolis this year, and something he said (maybe that the book was anti-religion? but don't quote me on that) coupled with my basic knowledge of the plot (set in Montreal in the 1980s, centred on a Ph.D. student in English trying to write his dissertation) made me seize it when I saw it available at the Grande Bibliothèque. It was the same day I finally got a membership there, and I could scarcely believe my good luck at walking out with a brand-new, Governor-General Award-winning novel without having been on a waiting list for weeks.

And it didn't disappoint. It's deliciously long, with a strange adventure section set in the Galapagos that I found impossible to put down. Ricci's prose style is excellent, and he tackles all the big questions in this one novel: death, God, living authentically and ethically. It's the kind of novel that for another writer is simultaneously inspiring and deflating --- a capital N Novel with all the hallmarks of time, research, genius, effort. Read it!


B.Kienapple said...

I have been hesitant to read this due to its heft but I finished his bio of Pierre Elliott Trudeau a while back and am so impressed by his writing style that I'm going to give Origin of Species a go. Am I alone in thinking the title is off-putting? It sounds too ponderous.

ReefaMahboob said...

Are you going to join any book reading groups while you are in Winnipeg this time?

saleema said...

@B.Kienapple - you're right, the title is the pits. Trudeau makes a little cameo in the novel and it made me want to read the bio. I'm curious if Ricci pitched the biography since he was already caught up in writing about & researching the place/time period...?

@ReefaMahboob - sadly, no. I'm already home!