Skip to content

By Steven Heighton

“Vivid and powerfully drawn…an energetic, fluent and interesting novel by a writer who has shown himself to be gifted, capable of exploring and experimenting with language.”
The Times Literary Supplement

“A bravura performance, intense and poetic…The Shadow Boxer fizzes with life and energy [and] has a swaggering, larger-than-life quality.”
The Independent on Sunday


Heighton_The Shadow Boxer

Intricately patterned and multi-layered, this is the story of Sevigne Torrins, poet and boxer, who sets off into the world to make it, and whose romantic and professional misadventures take him as far as Egypt before he finds his way back to the Great Lakes. But the classic writerly dream that Sevigne pursues turns out in practice to have a different and darker reality than any he had foreseen. Haunting and splendidly evocative, this is a passionate love story about the power of dreams and regret.

“One hears instantly in the first few pages the sound of a writer who in his first novel has already found his style. Fluid, rhythmical, full of force and grace, his sentences compel you to keep reading.”
-Wayne Johnston, author of The Colony of Unrequited Dreams

“The Shadow Boxer is symphonic, Mahler-like, in its shifting intensities as it makes segues between the sensory and the psychological–I can’t think of another writer, not even Ondaatje, who can be so real while being so mannered. And musical.”
The Globe and Mail

“Heighton is a heavyweight–a master of realist narrative. [Here] what is old is made new again by pure virtuosity of execution.”
Vancouver Sun

“Deeply imagined, strongly felt, and–deliberately unfashionable. In a good way.”
Toronto Life

“Steven Heighton is a writer of high intelligence and wit, an immaculate and sensualist stylist whose prose moves fluidly from the acerbic to the erotic.”
-Janette Turner Hospital, author of Oyster

“Heighton is like a young Ondaatje…a superb craftsman at ease in foreign places and distant times.”
The Globe and Mail

“Hypnotic, tense and rich…Heighton’s material is authentic; the scenes are exciting and true.”
Quill & Quire

“Heighton is artful both in conveying atmosphere–he has a sharp eye for the texture of life–and narrating a series of engrossing adventures.”
Toronto Star

“A rich, multi-layered novel…a remarkable journey of creative and spiritual self-discovery.”
eye weekly (4 star review)


Knopf Canada, Canada, May 2000

Granta Books, UK, June 2000

Houghton Mifflin, U.S., March 2002

Edizioni e/o, Italy, May 2003


National bestseller

A Globe and Mail Best Book

A Toronto Star Best Book

A Publishers’ Weekly Best Book

Now in a third paperback printing, with Vintage Canada

Other Books by Steven Heighton