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CanLit150

Celebrate more than 150 years of Canada with 150 books.

Shaughnessy Bishop-Stall Recommends

The Culprits by Robert Hough

The Culprits (2007)

(From Penguin Random House)

Hank Wallins is a broken man working the night shift in a meaningless job. Tormented by the tinnitus constantly ringing in his ears, he sleepwalks through life, too scarred by a tragic love affair to try again. When a madman pushes him into the path of an oncoming subway train, this scrape with death re-awakens Hank to the world. Craving a reengagement with passion, he reaches out to a young slightly cross-eyed Russian beauty who he locates on a website. He ventures by plane to meet the lovely and mysterious Anna in her hometown of St. Petersburg.

The novel unfolds through the words of a narrator who describes himself as an abomination, yet he is heroic and compassionate, and capable of immense acts of love, including the creation of this very narrative itself–a gift for his unborn half-sister. His horrors have been formed as a result of untold millennia of blood hatred. But it is through his existence that our protagonists transcend their own human culpability.

A kaleidoscopic and riotous tale, voiced by one of the most unusual narrators in literary history, Robert Hough’s The Culprits puts shape and flesh to the murky unknowns surrounding a real-life terrorist incident and all that led up to it, shining a light into some of humanity’s most inscrutable sins. This novel is at once a mind-blowing hallucination and a classic love story, exploring the human thirsts for love and passion, for allegiance and trust, and for terrible vengeance.

Robert Hough

Robert Hough’s novels have been nominated for numerous awards, including the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, the Trillium Book Award, and the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. Dr. Brinkley’s Tower was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award. His latest novel, The Man Who Saved Henry Morgan, was nominated for the 2016 Trillium Book Award, was a featured title at The Word On The Street Toronto in 2015, and included in the inaugural Word On The Street Book Club. He lives in Toronto.

Visit Robert Hough's Website