"Baillie reminds us of the power of novels to renew the world."
"Baillie delivers a work of magical realism that captures the experience of postcolonial guilt...and gives voice to a silenced past."
Starred and boxed Publishers Weekly
"Baillie is an excellent storyteller, combining adventure with deeper elements and the characters’ search for self. Highly recommended."
Oprah lists The Search for Heinrich Schlögel as one of the 13 books to pick up this September:
"Bewitching riddle of a novel."
O, the Oprah Magazine
“Martha Baillie has written a timeless masterpiece. Every page is full of haunting wonderment. Truly, I know of no novel quite like itit’s a blessing. The Search for Heinrich Schlögel has dreamlike locutions, it tells the most unusual tale, and it brings the margins of the world to us with photographic immediacy. I was completely transported.”
Howard Norman, author of Next Life Might Be Kinder
"How is it possible to find a person who doesn’t know he's missing? How can we be entangled in the world, in history, and live a moral life? Heinrich Schlögel doesn't give up his secrets easily, but as time collapses and opens, an extraordinary person, and an astonishing reading experience, come into existence. Martha Baillie’s new novel is entirely original, remembered yet created, truthful yet fictional, old, alive and visionary."
--Madeleine Thien, author of Dogs at the Perimeter
"The Search for Heinrich Schlögel is utterly distinctive, a fictional biography that drifts so imperceptibly into dream that it's impossible to tell where the reality of it ends and the fantasy begins. There's something of Nabokov here, and also something of Rip Van Winkle. Baillie has written an ode to those things that resist time, like a photograph, and those things that relinquish themselves to it, like a painting, resulting in a novel that is itself a little bit of both."
Kevin Brockmeier, author of The Illumination
“Capacious, capricious, mischievous, The Search for Heinrich Schlögel moves like a quantum experiment, defying boundaries of time, place, chronology. Fluid as light itself, animated by startling imagery, vivid and peculiar characters, The Search for Heinrich Schlögel is a hymn to brooding memory, the enduring need to inhabit story, and a haunting insistence upon endless possibilities within possibility. That is to say, hope.”
Gina Ochsner, author of The Russian Dreambook of Color and Flight
"Martha Baillie’s extraordinary The Search for Heinrich Schlögel is not quite like any other book I’ve read. It invites us on a hallucinatory journey to the Arctic and through time. It asks us to live with mystery and wonder, which is what a work of art does. If it reminds me of anything, it is the fabulous, shape-shifting novels of the Icelandic writer Sjón."
Catherine Bush, author of The Rules of Engagement and Accusation
Praise for The Incident Report (longlisted for the 2009 Giller Prize and one of the Globe and Mail’s Best Books of 2009)
“Baillie’s novel contains real tenderness, rendered in beautiful prose with compelling restraint.”
Quill and Quire
“Baillie is a naturally figurative writer and, through precise and concrete imagery, captures, paradoxically, what is simply too much for measured words.”
Globe and Mail
Praise for The Shape I Gave You
“Baillie’s style is articulate, elegantly nuanced and replete with allusions to artists and thinkers . . . The counterpoint of pleasure and pain is moulded by memoryand Baillie does an excellent job of showing how memory creates the past and the present. The Shape I Gave You is exquisitely genuine . . . Baillie’s examination of emotion is unfaltering in its deep compassion.”
Globe and Mail
“[An] old-fashioned quality . . . gives Baillie’s work its charm and elegance. Her stories have weight and value history. . . . Baillie’s made a strong statement on the pain of grief and the unexpected way in which compassion can be sown. She’s also shown that with each new novel her voice becomes stronger.”
An emotionally distant expat travels into the wilds of Canada, where he disappears into a rift in time. This Canadian slice of magical realism by Baillie (The Incident Report, 2009, etc.) is largely about the search for meaning among the vestigial fragments of an unremarkable life. The story is told by an unnamed narrator who's meticulously reconstructing the travels of one Heinrich Schlögel, a young German wanderer whose only affections are for his polyglot sister, Inge. We first meet Heinrich in his youth, bicycling through Germany and indulging his fascination with animals. When Inge gives him the diaries of Samuel Hearne, a real-life British explorer who navigated across Northern Canada to the Arctic Ocean, Heinrich becomes determined to repeat the exercise. But on the advice of a new friend, he heads instead to the remote interior of Baffin Island, where his doubts threaten to overtake him. "I should have followed Hearne's route, gone to the Western Arctic," he thinks. "But Hearne's path would still not have been my own path. How am I to find a route of my own?" In a surreal twist, Schlögel sets out on his journey in 1980 and thinks he's spent only two weeks in the wilderness. Arriving back in civilization, though, he's startled to find that 30 years have passed. His mother is dead, and his father denies that he is who he says he is, so Heinrich has only his sister to help him navigate this odd mix of the old world and the new. The novel is beautifully composed and walks a fine line between Heinrich's internal debates and the narrator's possibly unreliable obsession with his fate. However, it doesn't end as much as stop, so readers looking for a satisfying sense of closure may be left wanting. A poetic journey into mystery that asks hazy questions about time, culture and one's sense of self.