Hero: Michael Redhill
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Hero: Michael Redhill

Torontoist is ending the year by naming our Heroes and Villains of 2007––the people, places, and things that we’ve either fallen head over heels in love with or developed uncontrollable rage towards over the past twelve months. Get your dose, starting Boxing Day and running into the new year, three times a day––sunrise, noon, and sunset.
Michael Redhill’s had a big year. His novel Consolation, in addition to being nominated for the Man Booker Prize and winning the Toronto Book Award, has become essential reading in this city. Redhill’s elegantly written historical novel has been selected as the first-ever community read in Keep Toronto Reading’s OneBook program.
Consolation spans 150 years of Toronto’s history to tell the interlinked stories of a mid-1800s apothecary-turned-photographer and a present-day forensic geologist wanting to lead an archaeological dig at a downtown construction site. Redhill offers a perceptive foray into the complexities of memory, love, and loss. His great depth of detail illuminates the past and, as one critic said, “The myriad ways the past lingers just below the surface of the present and inevitably shapes the future.”
The readings and discussion groups at the Toronto Public Library and special CBC Radio programming—all part of the One Book campaign this February—to engage Torontonians in a dialogue about the book’s themes are especially timely. Again and again this year, we’ve seen new successes and failures to overcome Toronto’s legacy of willfully eradicating its history in the name of progress. This makes the questions Redhill raises about our present-day relationship to the city’s vanished past all the more intriguing.
Photo of Michael Redhill by Anna Wilcox, courtesy of Random House of Canada