Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Fiction Literary

Lovesongs of Emmanuel Taggart

by (author) Syr Ruus

Breakwater Books Ltd.
Initial publish date
Aug 2009
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Aug 2009
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Aug 2009
    List Price

Add it to your shelf

Where to buy it


Things no longer look the same for 45-year-old Emmanuel (“M”) Taggart. Thinking he has a bad case of the flu, M leaves the office to embark on a road of self-discovery. Although the doctors find nothing medically wrong, M becomes convinced that he is suffering from an undiagnosed terminal disease, a brain tumour perhaps. During his brief period of “illness,” Emmanuel is increasingly peevish, irritable, mean, selfish, and nearly impossible for his long-suffering wife, Emily, to withstand. Moreover, M runs into Juhan Lipp, an old man for whom he immediately feels a unique and filial attachment. Juhan seems to have acquired the wisdom that M is lacking. Lovesongs of Emmanuel Taggart is a comedy, focusing upon the antics and perceptions of an ordinary person as he finally comes to terms with his own humanity.

About the author

Syr Ruus was born in Tallinn, Estonia, during the Second World War. As a small child, she escaped with her mother to Germany and subsequently immigrated to the United States where she earned an MA in English, an MS in Education, and taught briefly in the English Department of Illinois State University. She moved to Nova Scotia in 1968 where she worked as an elementary school teacher while raising her three children before devoting herself full-time to writing. Her short fiction has appeared in anthologies and journals. Her 2006 novel, Lovesongs of Emmanuel Taggart, won the Writer's Federation of N.S. H. R. (Bill) Percy Prize. Since then, she published three books of fiction inspired by the South Shore of Nova Scotia: Devil's Hump (2013), The Story of Gar (2014), shortlisted for the Ken Klonsky Novella Award, and In Pleasantry (2016). Her novella, Walls of the Cave, is forthcoming in 2019.

Syr Ruus' profile page


  • Winner, The HR (Bill) Percy Prize

Editorial Reviews

"The confident writing and the interesting twists go deep and keep you reading." -Sharon Hunt, The Chronicle Herald

“[A] highly readable novel, full of memorable characters … She writes with wit and grace … The efforts of other characters to solve Emmanuel’s “problem” provide little solace to him, but plenty of humour for the reader.” - Joan Givner, critic and author

"Lovesongs of Emmanuel Taggart is an off-kilter, but ultimately insightful novel... done in a funny, crisp way. It is hard to believe this is a debut novel." -Chad Pelley,, January 2010

"Lovesongs of Emmanuel Taggart explores a blurred divide between the commonplace and the surreal." - Fred Armstrong, CBC Broadcaster and author of Happiness of Fish

Other titles by Syr Ruus