Steven Heighton may be Canada’s most romantic novelist. Not romantic as in affairs of the heart—although he does write stirringly of love—but as in the capital “R” Romantic of the 19th-century poets. The Romantic Movement emerged out of the ideals of the French Revolution, and its literary practitioners rebelled against the neo-classicism of the previous age, celebrating imagination and individual feeling over decorum and form. In the beauty of the natural world they discovered comfort and inspiration. Not surprisingly, perhaps, Heighton, who has written four novels and three books of short fiction, is also a poet; his seventh collection, The Waking Comes Late, won a Governor General’s Award in 2016. In novels such as The Shadow Boxer, Afterlands and Every Lost Country he applies his romantic vision, which explores dynamic nature, altered states of consciousness and the efforts of...
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