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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

One Book: Spacing Reads Consolation

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Spacing Magazine is excited to announce our participation in the Keep Toronto Reading “One Book” campaign. An initiative of the Toronto Public Library, the aim is to get as many people as possible reading Michael Redhill’s Consolation — much like what Oprah does with her book club, but on a civic level.

Consolation takes place in locations all around Toronto, past and present. Throughout February, six Spacing writers and editors will be posting short excerpts of passages that take place in a specific geographic location, then explore that place further: what’s there now, what has disappeared, and how the location is different than it was described in the novel. Consolation is a jumping off point for us to explore some of these locations deeper, and we hope our readers will also contribute what they know and how they feel about these places to each post. In the end we may just create a sort of psychogeographic reader to go along with Consolation. Please pick up the book (at one of our favorite bookstores or at the library if you can manage to get a copy) and read along with us. While we don’t expect our short excerpts to give away large parts of the storyline, we will be sure to put a “spoiler alert” at the top of the post if that particular passage might have too much plot detail.

Explore and keep an eye on the TPL’s One Book site for ongoing activities and various exhibits including this great interactive map of Toronto “then and now.” One Book kicks off Monday, February 4 at 7pm with host Tina Srebotnjak interviewing Michael Redhill about the book at the Toronto Reference Library. The panoramic photograph that inspired the novel will also be on view.



  1. “Consolation” is a fantastic read. It only deepened my love affair for this great city – and this great country!

  2. scott, that is quite a review. Quite a review!

  3. Brevity is good sometimes. I don’t want to discourage anybody reading any book but I am a voluminous reader and was let down after hearing so much praise. I am finally getting around to A Complicated Kindness though which is living up to the hype.

  4. The great interactive map referred to in the post can also be found in the centre of the booklet ‘Reader’s Guide’ for Consolation available free at any branch of the Toronto Public Library.

  5. Consolation certainly evokes an image of Victorian TO. I read it some time ago – before the hype – and agree that it is worthy of the accolades.

    Like “In the skin of a lion” it illuminates our City’s history. Another candidate is “I’ve Got a home in Glory Land” – winner of the 200 GG for non-fiction. It tells about Lucie and Thornton Blackburn, fugitive slaves, who built our first transit system — cabs.

  6. Correction above post – meant the 2007 GG’s for I’ve got a home in Glory Land – also about TO.

  7. I agree with Scott but I will tell you why.

    This book epitomizes the our National pasttime of navel gazing. How can you have a Great Canadian novel without any greatness. We seem to have an obsession with proving that all white males who contribute to “history” must be personalities that are mediocre or worse. BTW I’m a visible minority, immigrant and female.

    In the annals of Canadian history, I say… Long live General Brock. Its too bad we don’t have more like him to hold up to our youth.