Beautiful Place, The
Thistledown Press / 9 December 2021

The Beautiful Placeby Lee GowanPublished by Thistledown PressReview by Shelley A. Leedahl$24.95 ISBN 978-1-77187-208-9 Saskatchewan born-and-raised writer Lee Gowan has penned a thick new novel—The Beautiful Place—and it’s a beautiful thing. Gowan’s three previous novels have garnered much attention (Make Believe Love was shortlisted for Ontario’s Trillium Award), and his screenplay, Paris or Somewhere, was nominated for a Gemini Award. Currently the Program Director of the Creative Writing and Business Communications department at the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies, this award-winning author’s giving readers something completely different with The Beautiful Place, which delves into the sci-fi world of cryonics; the realistic world of failed marriages, 21st Century parenting, and dementia; and the ever-precarious world of art and art-making. What Gowan’s done here is ingenious: he’s imagined an ongoing life for Philip Bentley, Sinclair Ross’s protagonist in As for Me and My House. Gowan’s tri-provincial sequel to that prairie classic’s told from the perspective of the minister-turned-artist’s grandson, also known as Bentley. The younger Bentley—a fired, semi-suicidal cryonics salesman, writer, and father of two daughters from different wives—is approached by a beguiling woman named Mary Abraham who “met Jesus in a dream and walked with him to a desert…

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