By Todd Babiak
“Toby: A Man displays more sophistication, wit and insight than the majority of literary fiction published in Canada today.”
TV presenter and man-about-town Toby Ménard has it all. But in the days after his father has a startling accident, Toby makes a series of terrible, wincing choices. As a result, he is fired from his job as an etiquette commentator and loses his superb condo, his beautiful girlfriend and his beloved BMW. Worse still, he must move back to the grey Montreal suburb of Dollard-des-Ormeaux and live in his parents’ basement.
With his silent BlackBerry and a sudden absence of friends or saviours, Toby feels he has reached the limits of misery and humiliation. But his father’s increasingly frightening behaviour is where the real trouble—and risk—lies. Who is this man? What can Toby do? Then, in a moment of misplaced gallantry, Toby encounters an unstable francophone mother who disappears and abandons her two-yearold son, Hugo, to his care. Trapped with a toddler and forced to deal with his father’s tragedies, Toby emerges from the basement bungalow of his life—muddy, broke, bruised, heartbroken—but, finally, a man.
“Like The Garneau Block, Babiak’ s 2006 satire on modern life in oil-rich Edmonton (which was long-listed for the Scotiabank Giller Prize), Toby is a vivid, humorous portrait of Canadians navigating the mores of our culture in a subtle, self-effacing fashion… Babiak exploits the family dynamic in the same way as Woody Allen.”
–Quill & Quire
“Toby: A Man is a powerful and satisfying novel, and is highly recommended.”
“Babiak’s … style and keen ear for natural dialogue ensure the swift and sure flow of the story.”
–The Globe and Mail
HarperCollins Canada, January 2010
Shortlisted for the 2011 Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour
Winner of the 2011 Alberta Literary Award (George Bugnet award for fiction)