"Some days I wish something truly bad would happen so that I would have something genuine to worry about."
When his parents' car is hit by a train, Luke, a failed actor, returns to his Edmonton hometown to attend their funeral, wrap up their affairs, and prepare their house to be sold off. But while all others around him grieve, Luke remains detached, striking up a relationship with a woman in a neighbouring house ... and stumbling across evidence that his mother may have engaged in a longstanding extramarital affair herself.
In Luke, Laurence Miall has crafted an unforgettable literary antihero, a man disconnected from the pain of those around him, yet blind to his own faults. With his clean, forceful language and a familiarity with the darker corners of the male psyche, Blind Spot is a gripping literary debut.
About the author
Laurence Miall is a Montreal-based writer who spent his childhood in England before emigrating to Edmonton at the age of 14. Miall has contributed to The Edmonton Journal and his short stories have been finalists in the Summer Literary Awards contest and Glimmer Train's Short Story Award for New Writers. Blind Spot is his first novel.
Excerpt: Blind Spot (by (author) Laurence Miall)
My parents didn't like me spending time with Joel. They couldn't figure out why I'd taken up with some kid who didn't read books or go to the theatre or have any normal hobbies. You have to understand: that was the very point. Joel wasn't like us. I craved anyone or anything not like us.
Six months into my friendship with Joel, I decided to do something that would truly impress my mentor. Joel was hard up for money. He could not buy cigarettes, nor could he steal any from his mom, who had been away at her boyfriend's. I concocted a daring plan. I decided we would break into some rich sucker's house and steal their valuables and pawn them for money. But I didn't know how to break into houses. So I decided that the house we would steal from would be my own.
I planned this heist meticulously. It had to be pulled off at exactly the right moment. It was late April, and my sister had a piano recital. The whole family was supposed to attend. I decided in advance that this was the appointed day. As an excuse for not going to the recital, I pretended to be sick and took the day off school.
I stayed home, coughing, hacking, and making exaggerated sniffing noises into dry tissues. My mom offered several times to get me cough syrup, but I declined, pretending to be brave. At three thirty, she left to pick up Laura from school and then Dad from the university. Then it was onwards to the recital. We only had one car in those days. I didn't expect them back until seven. It was perfect. I had already arranged to meet Joel in front of the old Princess Theatre at four thirty. I had half an hour to erase every trace that identified the house as that of my family before we broke into it.
Praise for Blind Spot:
"Blind Spot is the memorable story of a minor failure, made all the more powerful by its honesty and restraint."
~ Alex Good, Quill & Quire
"Miall's character development is dead on and the author achieves this with his remarkable skill at dialogue."
~ Naomi K. Lewis, Alberta Views
"a breath of fresh air ..."
~ Ian McGillis, Montreal Gazette