It is 1984. The latest recession is said to be over, and in the steel city of Hamilton, things are picking up. For Paul, however, an ex-rock guitarist and current art gallery attendant, life has slowed to the pace of a still life on a wall. He badly needs a jolt — and he gets one. Soon after the arrival of an exhibition of Surrealist art, puzzles start to multiply around him. Before long, he is trying to find his way in a maze that includes a chess problem, violent death, Paul Klee, cocaine, bikers, a strip club and its art-patron owner, and a host of clashing egos and agendas in the gallery. And then there is Claudia, a young artist with a quick brush and a caustic tongue, who may know more than she is saying about the mysteries Paul is chasing. Catalogue Raisonné is a novel about the mystery of art and the art of mystery, and the power of both to awaken sleeping senses.
“Plot has become an endangered species in Canadian fiction, yet Catalogue Raisonné cradles its varied strengths of characterization, lively prose and a keen social and psychological eye within a steadily evolving plot.”—Darryl Whetter,The Antigonish Review