THE GLOBE AND MAIL TOP 30 CANADIAN BOOKS TO READ IN 2023
CBC BOOKS WORKS OF CANADIAN FICTION TO READ IN THE FIRST HALF OF 2023
All talk, no action: The Mezzanine meets Ducks, Newburyport in this meandering and captivating debut
It’s a hot summer night, and Hugh Dalgarno, a 31-year-old clerical worker, thinks his brain is broken. Over the course of a day and night in an uncannily depopulated public park, he will sift through the pieces and traverse the baroque landscape of his own thoughts: the theology of nosiness, the beauty of the arbutus tree, the pathos of Gene Hackman, the theory of quantum immortality, Louis Riel’s letter to an Irish newspaper, the baleful influence of Calvinism on the Scottish working class, the sea, the CIA, and, ultimately, thinking itself and how it may be represented in writing. The result is a strange, meandering sojourn, as if the history-haunted landscapes of W. G. Sebald’s The Rings of Saturn were shrunk down to a mere 85 acres.
These digressions are anchored by remarks from the letters of Keats, by snatches of lyrics from Irish rebel songs and Scottish folk ballads, and, above all else, by the world-shattering call of the red-winged blackbird.
"From the first page to the last I felt wholly captivated by Falling Hour and Hugh’s sensitive and far-ranging digressions. Morrison has captured the magic of Sebald and made it entirely his own, a curiously anti-capitalist exploration of what it means to live in a “fake” country. " – André Babyn, author of Evie of the Deepthorn
"Falling Hour is a profound incantatory exhalation – a quiet triumph; to read it is to engage in a smart, humane and at times very funny conversation that you will never want to end." – Simon Okotie, author of After Absalon
“A stellar debut novel by a stellar new talent. Falling Hour is written in a prose style that enlivens every page.” – Mauro Javier Cárdenas, author of Aphasia: A Novel
"In Falling Hour, an immensity is condensed into a single day, a single park, a single empty frame. To themes of loss and dispossession that recall in scope and sensitivity the work of Teju Cole and W.G. Sebald, Morrison brings the attentive eye of a poet and a truly impish sense of the absurd." – Jen Craig, author of Panthers and the Museum of Fire
"Falling Hour deserves mention as a notable debut along the estuary of modern fiction." – D. W. White, Atticus Books, Phoenix, AZ
"It is rare to come across a debut novel that feels so unapologetically intellectual and, at the same time, so alive to what is beautiful and terrible in human life. Falling Hour is more than just the record of a character’s thoughts over the course of a day; it is a kind of literary ghost bicycle chained to the spot where a cyclist was killed, an anthem of the defeated, a howl of rage at a violent machine. It is also, I’m afraid to say, a masterpiece." – André Forget, Literary Review of Canada
"Falling Hour is an existential feast, a satisfying banquet of innovative fiction, ripe with free-flowing associations that astound, all with the cohesion of a lucid dream." – Danial Neil, The British Columbia Review
"Falling Hour is a densely woven text of rhythmic sentences and shifting metaphors, of righteous rants about colonialism, capitalism, and Methodist-minded Canadians, of lyrical meditations on the natural world, of facts that beget more facts. Reading it broke my brain, and I mean this as the highest compliment." – Marisa Grizenko, Plain Pleasures
"The perks and pleasures are innumerable in this, the memories of the disgruntled protagonist on a single, lonely day." – Brett Josef Grubisic, Vancouver Sun
"In Falling Hour, Geoffrey D. Morrison’s impressive first novel, a ruminative young man named Hugh Dalgarno takes an old picture frame to a public park where he has an appointment to sell it to a stranger." – Kevin Canfield, Necessary Fiction