Set in southern Ontario in the late nineteenth century, at a time when the machine age was coming into its own, Perpetual Motion chronicles the fortunes of settler Robert Fraser, a man obsessed with power and control. Driven by the idea of inventing a perpetual motion machine which will utilize natural energy, he neglects and destroys not only the nature around him but his own family too, as his overbearing rationality becomes a kind of tragic lunacy.
First published in 1982, Perpetual Motion is Graeme Gibson’s superb evocation of a time when faith in material progress is still challenged by superstition and a lingering belief in magic. It is an ironic yet compassionate examination of the painful consequences of human folly.
Graeme Gibson was born in London, Ontario, in 1934.
An important spokesman for Canadian cultural identity, Gibson was the initial organizer and a founding member of the Writers’ Union of Canada, and was its chairman in 1976. He was also an organizer and founding member of the Writers’ Trust, a non-profit organization, and was subsequently its chairman. From 1987 to 1989 he was president of the Canadian Centre of International PEN.
In 1990, he won a Toronto Arts Award for writing and publishing, and, in 1992 he received the Order of Canada. He is the author of four novels, Five Legs (1969), Communion (1971), Perpetual Motion (1982), and Gentleman Death (1993).
Graeme Gibson lives in Toronto, Ontario.