A stunning and fearless first novel from the Canadian author of the critically acclaimed Everything Breathed.
Four strands spanning several generations are woven together through the fragmented consciousness of a patient in rehabilitation from an accident that leaves him stuck in present tense. Unable to recall who he is, where he is from, or who he knows, and determined to access his history, the patient harvests and assembles the narratives of his friends, family, and other witnesses. Out of this miscellany emerge surprising stories: Merrick, an inventor who dreams of a clockwork universe; Dory, a girl who commits a mercy killing at a local hospice; Merle, whose repeated suicide attempts function to forge a relationship with his estranged son; and finally the narrator’s own elusive past. Between these threads is the story of a train crash and of three minutes lost — three minutes that will prove a turning point in the lives of all the characters caught in this complicated clockwork.
Struan Sinclair is the author of the acclaimed short story collection, Everything Breathed. Originally from Toronto, he now lives in Winnipeg, where he is director of the Department of English Media Lab and Writing Program/Focus at the University of Manitoba. Automatic World is his first novel.
"What a relief to find a new writer as good as Struan Sinclair. . . . Everything Breathed is a genuinely exciting book." — The Guardian (UK)
"The writing is crisp and elegant, the characters familiar enough to be inviting. . . . The reader is advised to free up the rest of the afternoon and evening. And to leave tomorrow for recovery. A marvelous collection." — Michael Redhill, author of Consolation