cover image Torp


Michael Mirolla. Linda Leith (LitDistCo, dist.), $18.95 trade paper (306p) ISBN 978-1-927535-90-5

Love, death, mystery, and curiosity swirl together in this genre-defying novel from Mirolla (The House on 14th Avenue). Newlyweds Giulio and Nicole explore more than their new Vancouver residence when they transplant from Montreal in 1970. Their identities both outside of and within their relationship are challenged first when they are sweetly suckered into renting Harold and Irena Bedner's dank basement apartment, and second when Giulio brings home one of his philosophy students, Torp, an enigmatic and sly-tongued hippie. Once Torp infiltrates Giulio and Nicole's lives, he consumes their minds and bodies as they attempt to understand who he really is. Both fall quickly into lust with what Torp makes them feel, if not with Torp himself, while the Bedners become increasingly convinced that Torp is evil personified. Enhanced by the backdrop of 1970s discord and political violence from the Front de Lib%C3%A9ration du Quebec (FLQ) in Quebec, a strong sense of unease and manipulation permeate the novel. Mirolla leads readers into questions about what makes someone evil, the nature of right and wrong, and how people can be influenced by others. A late shift in narrative style, integrating Guilio's journal, is jarring, but Mirolla's vivid writing and the psychological intrigue will pull readers through to the last page. (Apr.)