I met Nicholas Ruddock and his wife at the Bloodletting event last month, and I enjoyed chatting with them so much I decided to read The Parabolist as soon as possible. Like Vincent Lam, Nicholas Ruddock is a doctor (a family physician in Guelph). Like Lam, he’s also a very talented writer (I have so much admiration for people who excel at more than one demanding profession).
The Parabolist resists classification: it’s literary fiction, and a murder mystery; it’s funny, and there are lots of great sexy bits. Set in 1975 Toronto and told from various perspectives, the novel centres around the murder of an interrupted rapist. The only clue is some Crisco found on the victim. Ruddock has imagined a wicked cast of characters, including (to name just a few) a promiscuous, unlucky medical student, a knife-carrying Mexican poet who teaches literature to med students (without any teaching credentials), and a creepy misanthropic psychiatrist.
The Parabolist is witty, fast-paced, and very entertaining, and I’m very glad a chance encounter prompted me to read it.