Doubting Yourself to the Bone

“This is the second novel from an Edmonton writer who is also a noted local poet and playwright. Trofimuk’s first novel, The 52nd Poem, won the 2003 Alberta Book Awards’ Georges Bugnet Novel of the Year, the City of Edmonton Book Prize and the Manuela Dias Book Design of the Year Award.

This new story plays out in Edmonton, Field, B.C. and Paris, and traverses difficult emotional territory with great beauty and delicacy. Perhaps more poets should be novelists, to show that a wrought sentence can shine much, much brighter than the heavy bricks other writers lay down in the name of fiction. Doubting Yourself to the Bone is a story of unresolved grief, about family, about big issues that are groundwork of great literature.

What sets Trofimuk’s work apart is the unique grace with which he handles heavy human emotions, and the certain playfulness in narrative and image that buoys his work above weighty themes.”

“Ronin, much like the protagonist in Gao Xingjian’s Soul Mountain, talks to imaginary characters, incorporates multiple points of view and invites us to delight in the oddities of life, like a busload of saffron-robed monks that land in Field, a nudist lesbian and an imagined waif named Katya.

When Gao received the Nobel Prize in 2000, Soul Mountain was celebrated as a novel that blended literary forms: poetry, fiction, drama and travel writing. It was described as “a novel of a pilgrimage made by the protagonist to himself and a journey along the reflective surface that divides fiction from life, imagination from memory.” And so Trofimuk has carved out his own Soul Mountain for us, in Edmonton and Field, and found a reflective surface right in our own Canadian Rockies.”

–Edmonton Journal