A retired academic is called to a remote university to speak as the replacement for an old friend recently deceased in unusual circumstances. The Stand-In is a transcript of these lectures, revealing a sophisticated tale of art, fame, and adultery that unfolds through rambling anecdotes and flashes of scholarly grandstanding. Fiercely funny and bitterly ironic, The Stand-In has been called the best academic doppelgänger story since Nabokov’s Pale Fire.
David Helwig (1938-2018) grew up in Ontario and lived in Belfast, Prince Edward Island. He founded the Best Canadian Stories series, and he was the author of sixteen books of fiction and numerous works of non-fiction, including poetry, memoir, documentary and translation. His most recent work of fiction was Close to the Fire (Goose Lane, 1999), a novella, and the novel, The Time of Her Life (Goose Lane, 2000). "Missing Notes" appeared in ArtsAtlantic (61) and was selected for 98: Best Canadian Stories.
PRAISE FOR THE STAND-IN
“David Helwig is one of Canada’s most unsung writers, talent-wise. The Stand-In is not only a witty, eloquent and satirical impromptu, but an artfully regulated romp…a triumph of comic exposition.”—Toronto Star
“The Stand-In is a witty, inventive, sometimes disturbing excursion into the genre of the dramatic monologue, that literary form perfected in poetry by Robert Browning, and here equally successful in prose, in which a single speaker addressing an unseen audience reveals more about himself than he realizes or perhaps intended.” —Prairie Fire
“Helwig superbly explores complex philosophical ideas. His style is engaging and informing, his sense of dialogue extraordinary.”—The Winnipeg Free Press
“A teasingly complex book, The Stand-In combines the intellectual playfulness of a postmodern novel with the high drama of an old-fashioned whodunnit.” —Kim Jernigan, The New Quarterly
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