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Gentleman Death

by (author) Graeme Gibson

McClelland & Stewart
Initial publish date
Apr 2002
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2002
    List Price

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Meet novelist Robert Fraser as he comes face to face with creativity, his mortality, and the deaths of his father and brother. Set mainly in Toronto, the novel also takes us to London, Scotland, Germany, and New York as we follow the escapades of two of Fraser’s fictional characters. There is Simpson, called into service as an anonymous sperm donor, and Dunbar, an enigmatic tourist in Berlin just before the Chernobyl disaster, where he meets the captivating Lena, with whom he begins to sense an almost forgotten freedom and elation. But at the centre of Gentleman Death is Robert Fraser’s own compelling story. Gibson juxtaposes reality and fiction in this compassionate, sometimes outrageous, often very funny exploration of the absurdities and alarms of aging, the nature of fiction itself, and the maturity that grows from reconciliation.

About the author

Graeme Gibson is the acclaimed author of Five Legs, Communion, Perpetual Motion, and Gentleman Death. He is a long-time cultural activist, and co-founder of the Writer's Union of Canada and the Writers' Trust. He is a past president of PEN Canada and the recipient of both the Harbourfront Festival Prize and the Toronto Arts Award, and is a Member of the Order of Canada. He lives in Toronto.

Graeme Gibson's profile page

Editorial Reviews

Gentleman Death is a modern danse macabre. A wise and powerful chronicle of fathers and sons and brothers on a new voyage of discovery to the end of the night.”
–Alberto Manguel

“In this engaging novel, Graeme Gibson uses the foibles of an aging novelist to address the unaccountable fears that obsess us all sometimes in the small hours of the morning.…His story steams along, effortlessly propelled by fine prose, wit, and insight.…Delightful.…”
Quill & Quire (starred review)

“An intense, passionate, deeply felt meditation on human mortality and mutability which speaks directly to the heart as well as to the mind.…[A] tour de force.…”
Kitchener-Waterloo Record
“Utterly involving.… An elegant, poignant novel and a repeatedly funny one.”
Financial Post
“An engaging exploration of memory and death. Complex yet accessible, it is an illuminating guide through the rich territory that W.B. Yeats called the “rag-and-bone shop of the heart.”
“A richly mature book, which made me cackle with laughter and stare into the distance with recognition.…For me, Gibson’s free-wheeling and noble-spirited novel was a gift: one of those rare books which provide grown-up sustenance.”
–Dennis Lee

“Gibson writes clean, hard prose and his literary sensibility seems tough and unflinching. His insights into the mellowing capacity of middle aged are particularly fine.”
Winnipeg Free Press
“Without a doubt, Gentleman Death is a courageously eccentric book.…Delicate and admirable.…”
–Kingston Whig-Standard

“Right from the first page you know you’re in good hands.…The language and sensibility of this novel is both gritty and beautiful.…Gibson writes for a highly literate audience while remaining accessible to anyone interested in the power of language and storytelling.”
Calgary Herald
“With his hardy, no-frills style, Gibson adroitly shows how real life and fiction blend, how dreams and memories merge and how each of us makes what we can out of life–and death.”
Vancouver Sun
“Not every novelist dares as much and delivers as much as Graeme Gibson does in Gentleman Death.…This is serious stuff, but it is carried off in such exuberant language and with such memorable characters and incidents that reading the novel is like taking a ride on a roller coaster through comic and tragic neighbourhoods of life.”
Canadian Forum

Other titles by Graeme Gibson