The Perfect Order of Things

The Perfect Order of Things

A Novel

Book - 2011
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Like a tourist visiting his own life, David Gilmour's narrator journeys in time to reexamine those critical moments that created him. He revisits the terrible hurt of a first love, the shock of a parent's suicide, the trauma of a best friend's bizarre dissembling, and the pain and humiliation of unrelenting jealousy, among other rites of passage. Set within an episodic narrative arc stories about the profound effect of Tolstoy, of the Beatles , of the cult of celebrity, of the delusion of drugs, and of the literary life on the winding road of the narrator's progress. This compelling and deeply interesting picaresque novel is a creative tour de force from the hand of one of our master storytellers.

The Perfect Order of Things breaks new fictional ground and is an astonishing story of a life lived fully and with breathtaking passion. David Gilmour is a novelist who has earned critical praise from literary figures as diverse as William Burroughs and Northrop Frye, and from publications as different as the New York Times to People magazine .

The author of six novels, he also hosted the award-winning Gilmour on the Arts. In 2005, his novel A Perfect Night to Go to China won the Governor General's Award for Fiction. His next book, The Film Club , was a finalist for the 2008 Charles Taylor Prize. It became an international bestseller, and has sold over 200,000 copies in Germany and over 100,000 copies in Brazil. He lives in Toronto with his wife.

Publisher: Markham, Ont. : Thomas Allen Publishers, c2011
ISBN: 9780887628078
Branch Call Number: F GIL
Characteristics: 222 p. ; 21 cm


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Jul 12, 2018

This is my third Gilmour book and it will be my last. He is at best an uneven writer, exhibiting little flashes of almost-brilliance but one is obliged to wade through a good deal of banal, self-indulgence along the way. What we have here is a meandering series of reminiscences, some of it no doubt based on his own life experiences, the rest of it simply dressed-up fanciful musings. Reading his accounts of his amorous escapades, I was reminded of the glamorous waltzes passing through the daydreams of Baron Ochs in Der Rsenkavalier. Gilmour's sheer egocentricity is at times quite astonishing; little wonder that wives and girlfriends flee, one by one. Life is a party, but when the candles flicker and dim, what is left?

Mar 17, 2012

Good writing, but I got tired of the main character's attitudes and felt like telling him to get over himself already!

Nov 27, 2011

If you are among the leading edge of Baby Boomers, this is a very thought provoking book which nicely shows why you cannot relive the past nor should you.

Cdnbookworm Nov 04, 2011

This novel takes a main character from a previous book and has him narrate his own life. Revisiting significant places from his past, he reminisces about the events that made those places special to him. He talks about his family, showing us the relationship with his parents and older brother. He talks about his school friends and the escapades they were involved in. He talks about his first love and how that relationship ended. We see his subsequent relationships, including his marriages and how he continued relationships with both his ex-wives. He talks about his children and the special moments he remembers with them. He is a man obsessed with both Tolstoy and the Beatles, and hooked on the illusion of fame.
His is not an extraordinary life, and he looks back at events both happy and sad. It reads like a real memoir, and because the character is a writer, it keeps feeling like Gilmour is pulling experiences from his own life.

ksoles Oct 04, 2011

"The Perfect Order of Things" has both a self-mocking and self-absorbed premise: the narrator, a composite version of all voices from Gilmour's previous books, decides to return to places where he has suffered in life "with [his] eyes open." He hopes to settle old scores, explore the roots of recurrent miseries and relearn early lessons. The ten chapters read like pilgrimages and, together, produce the fictional autobiography of a writer revisiting affairs, obsessions, triumphs, griefs and disappointments.

This courageous novel shows the extent to which an author yearns for recognition while believing himself an imposter. Its narrator confesses to jealousy, insecurity and egotism yet somehow comes across as endearing, even lovable, allowing the book to transcend self-absorption. Gilmour writes with finesse, irony and creative playfulness as he makes himself vulnerable by appraising his past work. And, though this book stands on its own, it invites rereadings of Gilmour's earlier novels (Lost Between Houses, Sparrow Nights, A Perfect Night to Go to China).

Despite its potential to turn into a narcissistic disaster at any page, "The Perfect Order of Things" remains intelligent, humourous and precisely observant throughout.

debwalker Sep 20, 2011

"We don’t have many of these post-modern fractured narratives in Canada: Leonard Cohen’s novels of course, Gordon Shepherd’s monumental HA!, and recently, Yann Martel’s Beatrice and Virgil. But The Perfect Order of Things is so easily read, it adds a level of accessibility to the genre the others can’t match."

Michel Basilières
Toronto Star

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