'Cary Fagan's new novel is intense, lyrical, and emotionally charged. Leon Stone is a man blessed with good fortune -- a wife he continues to feel passion for, a young daughter, a safe neighbourhood. But his fear that it will all be taken away from him appears to be realized when Vasily arrives next door, carrying his possessions in two garbage bags.
'Despite his better judgment, Leon finds himself drawn to this self-declared ''immigrant failure,'' and their involvement gradually turns more intimate -- and explosive. In the meantime, Leon's wife is growing impatient with his ''problem'' -- a fear of leaving the house, other than through the imaginative power of their erotic life. Leon's past is slowly revealed: how his father became involved with the mob, as well as Leon's own criminal past. The relationships of Leon with his wife, daughter, and with Vasily move towards their powerful climax.'
'A wonderful writer. Engaging and haunting. He will make readers laugh and cry.'
'Nobody who knows Fagan's writing will be surprised at either the compelling narrative pace ... or the poetry of his language and imagery. There is nothing superfluous here, nothing flashy or self-conscious -- only the writing of someone to whom the act of writing seems as natural as the act of breathing.'
'Cary Fagan is a writer waiting for his full audience. Please start lining up.'
'Fagan is a psychological realist in the best sense of the tradition.'
'Fagan's expressive details create a strong sense of people and place. The reader really feels familiar with his Toronto. And from his base of accurate and compressed language, Fagan can risk making simple parallels between Leon's troubles and those of other characters. In fact, he makes many, many parallels, which form a net of plat around Leon, his family, and his past. For instance, when Leon grudgingly befriends Vasily (the neo-father figure), his wife suddenly befriends a difficult patient who reminds her of her mother. Leon's father bet on horses; Leon carves wild-eyed rocking horses. Leon's workshop is in his basement; Vasily drinks himself to death in his basement next door. Fagan weaves Leon's troubles into each scene, spreading the idea of neglect, conflict, and struggle for resolution over the narrative like a heavy mist.'