Featured in The Globe and Mail's Winter books preview: 36 reads to get you through till spring
On 49th Shelf's Most Anticipated: Spring 2020 Fiction Preview List
On CBC Books' spring reading list: 40 great books to read this season
Francis Blackstone is a fourteen-year-old gunslinger with a heart of gold.
He’s fallen for the mayor’s daughter and resolves to make his mark, and his fortune, to win her favour. And what better way than to rob a Manhattan Company bank? Enter Bob Temple, the volatile outlaw who takes Francis under his wing— though not without a degree of suspicion— and so begins the adventures of the Blackstone Temple Gang as they crisscross the west in search of treasure, redemption, and the possibility of requited love.
After an encounter with a rival gang, Francis and Bob Temple are chased over the Sierras to California, where they enjoy unexpected fame as gentleman bandits. But their newfound celebrity brings hardships as well, and when their final job takes a startling turn, Francis is forced to discover what it means to make peace with a world that stands against him.
At once a tribute to boyhood enthusiasm and the heroes of classical quests, Like Rum-Drunk Angels is an offbeat, slightly magical, entirely original retelling of Aladdin as an American western.
Tyler Enfield is a writer, photographer, and film director from Edmonton, AB. He is the author of Madder Carmine and three young adult novels, the winner of the High Plains Book Award and a finalist for the Robert Kroetsch City of Edmonton Book Award. His film Invisible World, produced by the NFB and co-written with Madeleine Thien, is the winner of three Alberta Screen awards, including best director.
"Like Rum-Drunk Angels wrings a variation on the American Western which is entirely unique — saucy, funny, warm, tender, unbridled. It’s a breakneck gallop of a book, as fine a novel as I have read in a long time. "
— Wayne Johnston
"Tyler Enfield’s Like Rum-Drunk Angels (Goose Lane Editions, 2020) turns the historically mundane into the psychedelically evocative, and the far less mundane into something even more grandiose. "
— Charlotte Simmons
"Like Rum-Drunk Angels is beautifully cinematic, with surprising story breaks that create a long-lasting controlled suspense. "
— Aaron Williams
"A surreal, often hilarious fracturing of traditional western tropes, imbuing classic elements with a spirited post-modern awareness. . .. Like Rum-Drunk Angels is a hoot, with a tender heart at its core. "
— James M. Fisher
"There is plenty of humour and the whole year-long escapade takes on a dream-like aspect as in the anything-can-happen, even the impossible — which does. "
— James M. Fisher
"A magical, fun novel… It has all the elements of a good western. "
"With a yarn like this, you don’t always know what you’re hearing, where it’s coming from, and certainly not what it means, but there’s little you’d rather do than sit on your horse and listen for a while. "
— Kyle Wyatt
"Tyler Enfield opens a treasure chest of familiar Western tropes, turns them upside down and inside out, and makes them dance. Funny, absurd, wildly inventive, and then — just as you’re least prepared for it — deeply moving. Magic. "
— Ian Weir
"A strange series of heists is one of Enfield’s more clever and original subplots. As the dynamite runs low, so do the good times, and the story becomes a more solemn affair through the last quarter. Francis’ journey becomes a solo one with some awful lows. This transition, from fun to serious, feeling less like a good old ‘duster’ as it comes to a close, is done with such subtlety that it wasn’t until I finished that I realized how well Enfield had pulled off that shift in tone. "
— Aaron Williams