The Rasmussen Papers

Author: Connie Gault
ISBN: 9781771872539 Categories: Fiction, Literary Tags: , ,
Publication Date: 14 May, 2024
Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.5"

A delightfully cunning, sharply insightful novel about ambition and subterfuge from the author of the Giller-longlisted novel A Beauty.

This novel’s unnamed narrator is so obsessed with the desire to write the biography of her literary hero, the late poet Marianne Rasmussen, that she assumes a false name and talks her way into the house of Rasmussen’s former lover, Aubrey Ash. She gets more than a foot in the door—she moves in as a lodger, gaining precious daily contact with frail, crusty, almost-centenarian Aubrey and his handsome, younger (but hardly young) brother Harry.

The would-be biographer tries to ingratiate herself with both the Ash Brothers. She flatters Aubrey and she flirts with Harry, but the harder she tries to get her hands on the coveted prize—access to the Rasmussen papers—the more she gets tangled in a trap that might just be of her own making. Can she resist the temptation to possess, by any means, the letters, photographs and first drafts that could unlock the secret to Marianne Rasmussen’s genius?

The Rasmussen Papers is a brilliant reply to Henry James’ The Aspern Papers. Connie Gault flips James’ story on its head and slides it into contemporary Toronto’s Cabbagetown, among the marginalized and dispossessed, people the narrator studies as intently as she studies everyone she meets—until a confrontation on a streetcar makes her reconsider the limits of what you can know of another’s story, and how hidden we all are, especially from ourselves.

About the Author

Connie Gault has written for stage and radio and film. Her first novel, Euphoria, won a Saskatchewan Book Award for Fiction and was short-listed for the High Plains Fiction Award and the Commonwealth Prize for Best Novel of Canada and the Caribbean. A Beauty won the 2016 Saskatchewan Book of the Year as well as the award for fiction, and was long-listed for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. A former prose editor of Grain magazine, Connie has also edited books of fiction and has taught many creative writing classes and mentored emerging writers. After spending most of her life in Saskatchewan, she now lives in London, Ontario.

Reviews

Praise for The Rasmussen Papers:

The Rasmussen Papers is an urban fox of a novel—light-boned, beautiful and sly. I loved every inch of it, from the dark knowing of its nose to the quicksilver tip of its tail.”
—Alissa York, author of Far Cry

The Rasmussen Papers is an intricate puzzle-box, perfectly proportioned and opening with a click of recognition—but this variation on a Jamesian theme is completely original and unexpected. Gault presses echoes and refractions on us until quite gently the puzzle opens and we see revealed the inner prize: one lonely mind and soul. The best book I’ve read in years.”
—Marina Endicott, author of The Observer

 

Praise for A Beauty:

“Gault is a genius. Her prose is tough and lyrical, her wisdom startling . . .”
—Lorna Crozier

“Evocative, laced with humour, precisely sculpted yet mysterious at its core—A Beauty takes us on a journey deep into the Canadian prairie of the 1930s. As the story unspools, we find ourselves transported into the minds and hearts of dozens of hugely differing and unforgettable characters, each brought so vividly to life.”
—Muslims for Peace and Justice Fiction Award Jury Comments, Saskatchewan Book Awards, 2016

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