One of Matt Cohen’s great gifts as a writer was that he refused to sit still and be pigeon-holed for one particular style of story. He turned his pen to everything from the genius of the Salem novels to the carefree beauty of Teddy Jam’s children’s books to the epic saga of The Spanish Doctor (first published in 1985). Set in Spain at the beginning of the great era of Jewish persecution in the 15th century, The Spanish Doctor tells the tale of Avram Halevi, a brilliant, sought-after doctor. As the era of tolerance that once marked Moorish Spain crashes to a close, Halevi’s privileged life is torn apart. Halevi flees first to France and then eventually to the remoteness of Russia to sustain the freedom he needs as much as life itself. Accompanying him is Gabriela, the woman who loves him. Peopled with men and women whose will to live surpasses war, plague and persecution, The Spanish Doctor is a powerful novel of passion and faith.
About the author
Matt Cohen was born in Kingston, Ontario in 1942. He received his B.A. and M.A. from the University of Toronto. In the late 1960s he taught political economy at McMaster University before becoming a full-time writer. Since 1969 he has published twenty books, including novels, short stories, poetry and two books for children.
He received critical acclaim for many of his books, notably `The Salem Novels` - The Disinherited (1974), The Colours of War (1977), The Sweet Second Summer of Kitty Malone (1979), Flowers of Darkness (1981), and Emotional Arithmetic (1990). He was short-listed for the Governor General's Award in 1979 for The Sweet Second Summer of Kitty Malone and was a finalist for the 1988 Ontario Trillium Award for his short story collection Living on Water. As well, his short stories have twice won National Magazine Awards, and his books have been translated into Dutch, French and Portuguese.
Matt Cohen died in 1999.