2016 Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize Finalist
McClelland & Stewart
"A warning, a lament, a virtuoso engagement with our times, After James is a singular, puzzle-box of a novel delivered in gorgeous prose.
In three stages, with passing homage to the genres of horror, detective, and apocalyptic novels, Michael Helm brilliantly extrapolates riveting narratives from the wonderment of contemporary biology and physics. Failing to connect to a Godhead of old, the characters in After James are transfigured by pills, or by having to defend themselves against the maniacal genius of a computer hacker, or by warring against viral endemics. Readers may find themselves challenged: the jurors did. Those who persevere will be rewarded. Speculative, revelatory, dramatic, and subtly interconnected, the three sections of After James veer ever closer to an end time, yet the novel celebrates being human, and being here, now"
- 2016 Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize Jury Lauren B. Davis, Trevor Ferguson, and Pasha Malla
About the Book
A neuroscientist retreats to a secluded cabin in the woods, intending to blow the whistle on a pharmaceutical company and its creativity drug gone wrong. A failed poet is lured to Rome as a "literary detective" to decode the work of a mysterious Internet poet who seems to write about murders with precise knowledge of private details. On the heels of a life crisis, a virologist discovers her identity has been stolen by a conceptual artist in whose work someone always goes missing. After James is an audacious, masterful novel, told in three connected parts, each gesturing toward a type of genre fiction – the gothic horror, the detective novel, and the apocalyptic.
About the Author
Michael Helm was previously nominated for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize in 2010 for Cities of Refuge and in 2004 for In the Place of Last Things. His debut novel, The Projectionist, was nominated for the Giller Prize and the Trillium Book Award. Helm’s writing on fiction, poetry, and visual arts has appeared in North American newspapers and magazines, including Brick, where he serves as editor. He teaches at York University in Toronto.