“Richards is too much of the committed moral writer to paint his novel’s ethical landscape in simple black and white. Instead, he presents a complex socio-political world… Incidents in the Life of Markus Paul is a densely layered, multi-generational and trans-cultural novel… As with all Richards’ fiction, the twin candles of redemption and salvation flicker against hostile winds, giving cause for faint hope in an otherwise desperate world.”
Searing, brilliant, and tension-filled, this is a foreboding tale about truth, lies and justice — quintessential David Adams Richards.
When a terrible accident unsettles the peace in a small, tight-knit community, who will pay the price?
Incidents in the Life of Markus Paul tells an intricate story about the miscarriage of justice in the case of one man’s death in a shipping yard in New Brunswick in 1985. The novel is a meticulous study of the various half truths, political machinations and outright lies that lead to the unfair incrimination of one man, Roger Savage, in the death of Hector Penniac, a promising young Micmac man from a local First Nations reserve.
“One of Canada’s greatest novelists writing at the top of his game.”
-Esi Edugyan, winner of the 2011 Giller Prize for Half-Blood Blues
“[S]tark, stunning and profound…the construction of this novel is brilliantly conceived, and flawlessly executed. This is Richards at the height of his powers, which is very high indeed. The word masterpiece is not too strong.”
“Incidents in the Life of Markus Paul is a page-turning thriller delivered by Richards in his finest form yet.”
“David Adams Richards is a Canadian writer who has won Canada’s top literary award, the Governor-General’s Prize. Alistair MacLeod, author of No Great Mischief, has called him ‘one of the exceptional writers of our time’, and this novel is good enough to justify such high praise… David Adam Richards is a keen observer and a master of the significant detail. He recreates the frequently harsh life of the reservation compellingly. He presents us with a wide range of characters all of them evoked with understanding and sympathy. He recognises that, while people have free will and are responsible for their actions, they are also the products of their environment and their experience, and therefore often judge and act unwisely.”
“David Adams Richards’ 14th novel brilliantly scours the conscience of a community… That Richards can consistently bring such potentially mawkish figures to vivid life is just one reason to keep reading him.”
–Quill and Quire (starred review)
“Markus Paul’s story, centred on several ‘incidents’ that prove fateful for him and fatal to others, is not related in the detached, clinical manner of a police account, but with the searing emotion and stirring probity we have come to expect of an author fighting to stave off anachronism’s claim to right and wrong, good and evil… In the immediate sense, this makes for classic tragedy, but Richards’s larger picture includes a moral lesson at once topical and timeless.”
–The Globe and Mail
“Markus Paul is a solid offering with timely insight from one of Canada’s most acclaimed storytellers.”
–Winnipeg Free Press
“In Incidents in the Life of Markus Paul Richards is at the height of his already lofty storytelling powers. Intense, intelligent and courageous… [O]ne of the few writers today who could say, as he did to the National Post, ‘I set out to write a novel about what constitutes human greatness,’ and actually do it.”
“A new novel by renowned Canadian writer David Adams Richards is always a cause for celebration in my world… Perhaps I like Richards so very much because I’m also a longtime admirer of William Faulkner, another writer who frequently tackled uncomfortable subjects, focusing on the marginalized of society. Richards makes us flinch when he tackles the subject of aboriginal injustice at the hands of whites. He makes us flinch even more by not painting the natives as all-noble and suffering. Above all, he manages to make us look at our beliefs and values without preaching, and leaves us asking hard questions of ourselves and our country; questions that have no easy answers.”
Doubleday Canada, May 2011
Winner of the Thomas Head Raddal Prize
Longlisted for the international IMPAC Dublin Literary Award