It is 1984. The latest recession is said to be over, and in the steel city of Hamilton, things are picking up. For Paul, however, an ex-rock guitarist and current art gallery attendant, life has slowed to the pace of a still life on a wall. He badly needs a jolt -- and he gets one. Soon after the arrival of an exhibition of Surrealist art, puzzles start to multiply around him. Before long, he is trying to find his way in a maze that includes a chess problem, violent death, Paul Klee, cocaine, bikers, a strip club and its art-patron owner, and a host of clashing egos and agendas in the gallery. And then there is Claudia, a young artist with a quick brush and a caustic tongue, who may know more than she is saying about the mysteries Paul is chasing. Catalogue Raisonne is a novel about the mystery of art and the art of mystery, and the power of both to awaken sleeping senses.
About the author
Mike Barnes is the author of the novels Catalogue Raisonn? and The Syllabus, the short fiction collections Aquarium -- winner of the 1999 Danuta Gleed Award -- and Contrary Angel, and two poetry collections, Calm Jazz Sea, shortlisted for the Gerald Lampert Memorial award, and a thaw foretold. His stories have appeared twice in Best Canadian Stories, three times in The Journey Prize Anthology, and won the Silver Medal for Fiction at the National Magazine Awards. He was the subject of a feature issue of The New Quarterly (Summer 2001) which included an interview and three new stories. In 2008 he released his first non-fiction title, The Lily Pond: A Memoir of Madness, Memory, Myth and Metamorphosis. Formerly a piano teacher, fishing guide, janitor, steelworker, dishwasher, clock salesman, security guard, English teacher, in recent years he has been working as a private tutor. He lives in Toronto.