Books·Canadian

Today I Learned It Was You

Edward Riche's fourth novel follows the drama of local politics, overzealous rights activists and the perils of contemporary social media.

Edward Riche

When a retired actor who frequents a city park is purported to be transitioning from man to deer, municipal authorities in St. John's, Newfoundland, find themselves confronted by an exasperatingly difficult problem. Complications mount as advocates, bureaucrats, police and local politicians try to corral the situation, which escalates into an even bigger problem after the story blows up on Facebook.

Leading the charge is the mayor himself. A former professional hockey player and local hero, Mayor Matt Olford is juggling a number of personal challenges on top of his city's man-deer problem: his wife has become a born-again Christian and he's found himself attracted to one of his colleagues at City Hall. When the Prime Minister's office calls to ask if he'll run as a Conservative in the next federal election, Mayor Olford finds himself at a crossroads: surrender his political values, or remain as the sole voice of reason on the increasingly ineffective city council? (From House of Anansi Press)

Read an excerpt | Author interviews

From the book

Harry recalled the white spire, a dog's tooth, and walls scalloped so they caught every which way of the light; a blue-bellied, tide-borne cathedral of ice.

He was in Newfoundland in the role of Doctor Bradman, for the final performances of an unfortunate touring production of Blithe Spirit. It was 1979 and then, as now, early June. Fog like mortar closed the airport at Torbay and three nights in St. John's, Newfoundland, became four and then five.

There was a delicious dereliction about the town in the day. Even as the lilac- and canary-coloured clapboard was coming down round their ears, the local players were putting on shows. Song was a reflex.

Their ceaseless talk was in a mongrel accent, Elizabethan doused with fishy Irish.

None of them had a dime.


From Today I Learned It Was You by Edward Riche ©2016. Published by House of Anansi Press.

Author interviews

The St. John's novelist on his satirical new novel. 16:55
Edward Riche talks about his new comic novel about a dysfunctional city hall and a man who is transitioning to a deer. 7:18