A man of failing reputation, Toss Raymond lives alone by the South Saskatchewan River, near the drought-ruined farm town of Mayford. It’s the summer of 1988, a year since Toss’s marriage went south, and he made a public spectacle of himself by thrashing the neighbour who he wrongly thought had cuckolded him. Now, as he finishes what might be his last year as a high school teacher and the school board gathers grounds for his dismissal, Toss has taken up with two newcomers in town, and neither association is likely to help him appear any more upright.
Here in his “summer of sobering first anniversaries,” in a place under siege from both drought and his friend Dewey’s dark inventions, Toss must decide what he will remain true to: his troublesome desire to follow his heart and his imagination, or his idea of “home” — unhistoried, dying, and likely to leave no trace.
A dense, rich, and entirely rewarding novel, The Projectionist is original, moving, and surprisingly funny.
About the author
Michael Helm is the acclaimed author of The Projectionist, a finalist for The Giller Prize, and In the Place of Last Things, a finalist for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize and for a regional Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best Book. He studied literature at the University of Toronto, and has taught at colleges and universities in Canada and in the U.S. His writings on fiction, poetry, and photography have appeared in North American newspapers and magazines, including Brick, where he has been an editor since 2003.
Born in Saskatchewan, Michael Helm has lived most recently in Michigan and Toronto.
“Helm writes with a relaxed, tempered energy, allowing all of his characters a recognizable, humane, and entertaining complexity.”
— Jury citation, The Giller Prize
“A comic tour de force. Michael Helm is a writer to watch.”
— Globe and Mail
“A poignant story about home: losing it, returning to it, making it your own. . . . Helm can deliver sustained moments of absolute clarity and grace.”
— Quill & Quire