Lee Gowan’s new novel is an audacious sequel to Sinclair Ross’ prairie classic, As for Me and My House. The Beautiful Place is about a man who is in trouble in love and work—a darkly funny cautionary tale for our times.
“A preposterous, pan-Canadian tale, straight-faced, that evolves into a quest for a dead man’s frozen head. Subtly hilarious, beautifully crafted and with lots of moving parts, this novel is fresh, original, and compelling.” –Ken McGoogan
“Where is home? Where is here? In The Beautiful Place we discover that the true geography of art begins in the heart. Profound, witty, and charming: read this novel!” — Kim Echlin, author of Speak, Silence
“Billed as a sequel to Sinclair Ross’s 1941 quintessential Canadian prairie novel, As For Me and My House, The Beautiful Place is novelist Lee Gowan at his best. Intricately textured and original in conception, Gowan’s protagonist (Philip Bentley’s grandson) navigates through the past, his own and his family’s, striking revelatory chords of recognition and reclamation, at the same time as dealing in the present with his second, heartbreaking marriage breakdown. Written with assurance and quiet elegance, this is the novel lovers of Gowan’s work have been waiting for.” Sharon Butala
The man we know only as Bentley is facing a triple threat—in other words, his life is a hot mess every way he looks. Like anyone who feels that he’s on the brink of annihilation, Bentley thinks back to his misspent youth, which was also the year he met his famous grandfather, the painter Philip Bentley, for the first time. To make matters worse, he has inherited his grandfather’s tendency to self-doubt, as well as that cranky artist’s old service pistol. Our hero is confused about so much. How did he end up as a cryonics salesman—a huckster for a dubious afterlife—when he wanted to be a writer? And who is the mysterious Mary Abraham, and why is she the thread unravelling his unhappy present? What will be left when all the strands come undone? Lee Gowan’s The Beautiful Place is the best kind of journey: both psychological and real, with a lot of quick-on-the-draw conversations and stunning scenery along the way —and only one gun, which may or may not be loaded.