If I Were Me is the culmination of Clark Blaise's career as a geographer of the human heart. In the character of Gerald Lander he has created a modern Faust who carries the world within him, but must travel to learn its meaning. At the age of fifty, Gerald Lander is granted a vision. He reads his future, resolves his past and for ten luminous years applies himself to the mysteries of language, Alzheimer's and consciousness itself.
About the author
Clark Blaise has taught in Montreal, Toronto, Saskatchewan and British Columbia, as well as at Skidmore College, Columbia University, Iowa, NYU, Sarah Lawrence and Emory. For several years he directed the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa. Among the most widely travelled of authors, he has taught or lectured in Japan, India, Singapore, Australia, Finland, Estonia, the Czech Republic, Holland, Germany, Haiti and Mexico. He lived for years in San Francisco, teaching at the University of California, Berkeley. He is married to the novelist Bharati Mukherjee and currently divides his time between San Francisco and Southampton, Long Island. In 2002, he was elected president of the Society for the Study of the Short Story. In 2003, he was given an award for exceptional achievement by the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and in 2009, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada ``for his contributions to Canadian letters as an author, essayist, teacher, and founder of the post-graduate program in creative writing at Concordia University``.
'Those who have read Blaise will likely be familiar with his non-fiction bestseller Time Lord, not the four volumes of his Collected Stories that have sold somewhere in the low hundreds. Though he became a member of the Order of Canada in 2009, Blaise has never won a GG. And yet his body of work -- and one can speak of it as a coherent body -- is an entertaining and profound monument to the craft of the short story.'
'If I Were Me is an intriguing and rewarding book. Only 120 pages long, it is packed with fascinating speculation about any number of subjects, from Japanese cults to the value of waste and corruption in human society. Blaise's plot -- such as it is -- develops almost imperceptibly through a series of ostensibly unrelated chapters. A blockbuster commercial page-turner this ain't, and the penultimate chapter offers up a couple of whopping great coincidences of the sort that can happen only in real life. But the slow unfolding of Lander's very literal voyage of discovery is satisfying indeed. This slender volume is meaty, and entirely fat-free.'
The Globe & Mail
'I still can't say with certainty what this little book is about, but I am certain that it's Blaise's masterpiece, and that I'll return to it often.'
Books in Canada