First Fiction Fridays: Blind Spot

January 9, 2015

Much like the white-and-red X emblazoning its cover, the main character at the heart of Laurence Miall's dark debut, Blind Spot, is at an intersection of existential angst and contemporary masculinity. Read on to find out more about the novel that the Montreal Gazette calls "a breath of fresh air."

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What:  Blind Spot  (NeWest, 2014)

Who:

Laurence Miall is a Montreal-based writer who spent his childhood in England before emigrating to Edmonton at the age of 14. Miall has contributed to the Edmonton Journal and his short stories have been finalists in the Summer Literary Awards contest and Glimmer Train's Short Story Award for New Writers. His first novel, Blind Spot, was published by NeWest Press in fall 2014.

 

Why You Need to Read This Now:

When his parents’ car is hit by a train, Luke, a failed actor, returns to his Edmonton hometown to attend their funeral, wrap up their affairs, and prepare their house to be sold off. But while all others around him grieve, Luke remains detached, striking up a relationship with a woman in a neighbouring house... and stumbling across evidence that his mother may have engaged in a longstanding extramarital affair herself. 

Recently, Alberta’s capital city is beginning to assert itself more and more into the Canadian conversation. With 40% of the entire country’s total job growth last year centred on the city and its population growing rapidly, it stands to reason that with this influx of new faces, new stories will begin to emerge as well. With Blind Spot, Laurence Miall takes his place among other writers who’ve set fiction in Edmonton, like Lynn Coady and Todd Babiak.

The pessimistic view of contemporary masculinity Miall puts forth in his antihero Luke is somewhat extreme, but at the centre of his black little heart there lies obsessions and drives that are recognizable in many modern males. With petty jealousies, a neglected thirst for truth and authenticity, as well a growing sense of detachment from friends and family Luke is emblematic of a new, disaffected generation of young men drawn to Edmonton. While Luke is only returning to settle his family’s affairs, his cold heart finds a new purpose in the Gateway to the North.

 

What Others Are Saying:

Author and journalist Michael Hingston did a four-part series in the Edmonton Journal about the inception and creation of Blind Spot.
Part 1   Part 2   Part 3   Part 4

 

"The first-person narrator who unconsciously gives himself away is a tricky device to handle, but Miall acquits himself with surprising skill...Blind Spot is the memorable story of a minor failure, made all the more powerful by its honesty and restraint." --  Quill & Quire Review, October 2014

 

"It may seem a strange claim to make, but Luke is a breath of fresh air, and so is Blind Spot." --  Montreal Gazette Review, October 16, 2014

 

*****

Thanks so much to the team at NeWest Press, especially Matt Bowes, for sharing Blind Spot with us.


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