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Muriella Pent Paperback – April 12, 2005

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Editorial Reviews


“Smith writes some of the most luminous prose in Canadian fiction. . . . He mines and refines the best of what has come before on the way to making it his own. Also, Smith is entirely credible when writing female characters. . . . One catches quiet echoes of Katherine Mansfield and Virginia Woolf.”
The Gazette (Montreal)

“[Marcus] Royston is one of the most convincing characters I’ve come across in Canadian fiction. . . . Interspersed with the biting wit is an almost elegiac quality to the writing.”
The Globe and Mail

“This is a valuable addition to the Canadian canon, rivaling the early work of another skilled satirist of the urbane and urban, Mordecai Richler.”
Ottawa Citizen

“The best Canadian novel published in 2004 was Muriella Pent…. Russell Smith is one of the best stylists of my generation. His prose is exact, surprising, and written by a man with a fine ear.”
—Andre Alexis, author of Childhood, in The Globe and Mail

“The heart of the novel beats in time with D.H. Lawrence and Henry Miller and all the writers before and after them who, when you sweat their books down to the essentials, say simply that sex is an artery of life. Muriella Pent plays out on a bigger canvas than Smith has worked on before. It's the work of a good novelist who wants to be a better novelist. And has become one. There's a gifted and sensually alert writer at the wheel here.”
National Post

“Deserves to stand as one of the strongest Canadian novels of the year”
Edmonton Journal

“Irresistibly poignant…. Readers looking to spice up their book club will have plenty to talk about with Russell Smith’s latest, Muriella Pent. "

“Read any page of Muriella Pent at random and it will become immediately obvious that you’re in the presence of a talented writer. . . . The really exciting aspect of Muriella Pent is the masterful way Smith presents his two central characters.”
The Record (Kitchener-Waterloo)

“We need writers like Smith to remind us of the grim truth of this strange country…. It’s a funny, poignant, ambitious, and highly entertaining book and the boldest work yet in Smith’s bleak oeuvre.”
Books in Canada

“[Russell Smith is] something of a literary heir to Margaret Atwood”
The Toronto Star

“A novel of manners about ambitious young downtowners of an artistic bent, Muriella Pent is adroit and amusing. And in its depiction of one exceptional character, Caribbean poet Marcus Royston, it is very good indeed.”

From the Inside Flap

The superb novel that has won Russell Smith comparisons to Mordecai Richler and Margaret Atwood.

In Muriella Pent, Smith turns his sharp eye for the nuances of social status and the intricacies of artistic and intellectual politics on an extraordinary cast of characters: Marcus Royston, the worldly, and weary, Caribbean-born, Oxford-educated poet who finds himself in chilly Toronto thanks to a cultural exchange; his hostess, the middle-aged socialite Muriella Pent; Brian and Julia, university students who hate each other (or do they?); and the varied personalities who staff the grants committees and gallery boards of Toronto's cultural universe.

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