Skip to content

By Todd Babiak

“[A] mix of tenderness, kookiness and high-spirited blasphemy. . . The Book of Stanley gives us a divinity for our noisy, coarse times… God is in the details, after all – in simple, unassuming things like the beauty of a flower, the durability of a marriage. The big deal,The Book of Stanley reminds us, is not that miracles occur, it’s in recognizing them when they do.”
The Montreal Gazette 


 

Babiak_Book of Stanley

This brilliant new satirist, who has been compared to Garrison Keillor, Armistead Maupin, and Alexander McCall Smith, won national recognition with his daily newspaper serial The Garneau Block. Following its success, McClelland and Stewart published it in book form to rave reviews, and it was longlisted for the 2006 Giller Prize.

Todd Babiak’s new novel, The Book of Stanley, which also ran as a daily serial, stretches its satirical scope to consider the more pressing issues of our time–matters of religion and magic, tolerance and multiculturalism, belief and the power of the will to act against external pressures. The eponymous hero of The Book of Stanley is dying of cancer, until a strange bolt courses through him, not only eliminating his pain, but also granting him superhuman powers. He becomes, to a group of disparate misfits the higher power they are searching for. With varying degrees of need and greed, lust and devotion, this colourful band of characters sets about to create a religion around Stanley, to hilarious and often profound effects.


“The Book of Stanley is a deft and often very, very funny send-up of aging, of parenthood, of marriage, of our religious fantasies, of mass culture, and ultimately of our preposterous (and apparently human) need to outlive even ourselves. Babiak has a large and acute and unblinking vision wide enough to include all this and more.”
-Richard Ford, author of Independence Day

“In the time-honoured tradition of Swift, Babiak mercilessly targets our shameful greed, ambition and contemporary despair. . . The playful subject matter is a heady hybrid of Steve Martin as a cynical evangelist in the film Leap of Faith and the absurd antics of Brian’s cultish followers in Monty Python’s epic Life of Brian. . . The best kind of fiction prompts a reader to think, to ponder–our own mortality, our duty to the world and the imprint we leave when we shuffle off this mortal coil. If you believe in more than stockpiling money and career advancement, Babiak’s message will resonate.”
Toronto Star

“In The Book of Stanley, Todd Babiak has written what few contemporary authors manage: a funny, smart social satire that, at its very centre, has a heart.”
-Steven Galloway, The Globe and Mail

“There are no sacred cows here. Babiak skewers all and sundry–established religion, New Age faiths, cultish devotion, small-town politicians, the mass media, rampant consumerism and self-absorption–with relentless good humour and keen wit. At the same time, with a surprising earnestness, he examines many of the issues of contemporary faith, including the role of the media and the very nature of belief. . . Is it possible to change the world, let alone save it, in the era of the iPod and the cult of the self? The strong cast of characters and sense of unpredictability will keep most readers plunging through the brief, almost capsule-like chapters.”
National Post

 “The Book of Stanley is a sharply written satirical epic, told in 82 mini-chapters. Babiak hilariously lambastes organized religion and pop spiritualism, but his biggest target is consumerism and its near-sacred role in Western culture. . . .Stanley is whimsical and droll, offering up such oddities as mythical surly Sasquatches in purgatory and hauntings by a trendy tween-girl. In true serial fashion, the outlandish events keep mounting. . . . the story of Stanley’s struggle with his new powers is irresistible.”
Quill & Quire (starred review)

“The ranks of talented fiction writers to emerge from the reporting trenches of Canadian newspapers are very thin indeed. You got your Heminway and your Callaghan, from right here at the Daily Bugle. You got your L.R. (Bunny) Wright and Dave Margoshes from the Calgary Herald. And now, the rest of us ink-stained, envy-wracked wretches pretty much have to concede, you got your Todd Babiak from the Edmonton Journal–which irks us because we’ve also sweated in each of those newsrooms, and others besides, and nobody treats us as though we’re special, particularly funny or a rising force in satirical fiction…”
Toronto Star

What Edmonton Journal readers said about The Book of Stanley during its serialization:

“I want more! Now! Actually, I want the whole thing right now. Yesterday I read them all over again, just to be back in that world. It’s much more of a torture this time around. Did you plan it like this, to drive us all crazy?”

“It is beautifully written and very strange and mysterious so far. Congratulations.”

“The Book of Stanley is wonderful — this is so good, I just won’t miss it! I just love the compassion you have when creating these characters, plus the fairly realistic bleakness (you show) in appraising situations and landscapes. It feels very right, and, especially, gives one strength to continue to try to do the right thing in the face of, well, bleakness.”

“Just as with The Garneau Block, there are some subtleties in the writing that wrap around my mind and suck me in! Today it was the 12-year-old boy loving sushi and Verdi. I have a son who was like that, an old soul in a young body.”

“I await more every morning. Those moments sitting in the quiet kitchen, coffee in hand, reading The Book of Stanley, are the best of the day!”

“Only Chapter 4 and already I have laughed and cried! You are the best. My husband laughs out loud when I read the chapters to him. We are in our late 70s and the slippery slope is starting for both of us.”

“I love what I’ve read so far of The Book of Stanley! I’m already sorry that I’ll miss the Journal chapters while I’m away. … All I can say is that your writing happily tweaks my imagination. That’s the best thing that can happen when one confronts art in its best form.”


Publisher:

McClelland & Stewart, Canada, August 2007

Awards:

Shortlisted for the 2008 Alberta Literary Awards – George Bugnet Award for Novel

Other Books by Todd Babiak