The Shadow Boxer

Publisher: Vintage Canada
Already highly-acclaimed as a poet and short-story writer, The Shadow Boxer announces Steven Heighton's arrival as a major new novelist on the Canadian literary scene. Intricately patterned and multi-layered, this is the story of Sevigne Torrins, poet and boxer, who sets off into the world to make it, and whose romantic and professional misadventures take him as far as Egypt before he finds his way back to the Great Lakes. But the classic writerly dream that Sevigne pursues turns out in practice to have a different and darker reality than any he had foreseen. Haunting and splendidly evocative, this is a passionate love story about the power of dreams and regret.


Rye Island seems to lie at the heart of some meteorological singularity; the summer goes on freakishly hot, day after day the mercury reading five degrees higher than reported for the Soo. Is it a sign of global warming, that fever afflicting the planet as it sickens? Poisoned. But all that seems improbable here. Here time...
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"One hears instantly in the first few pages the sound of a writer who in his first novel has already found his style. Fluid, rhythmical, full of force and grace, his sentences compel you to keep reading."—Wayne Johnston

"The Shadow Boxer is symphonic, Mahler-like, in its shifting intensities as it makes segues between the sensory and the psychological—I can't think of another writer, not even Ondaatje, who can be so real while being so mannered. And musical."—The Globe and Mail

"Heighton is a heavyweight—a master of realist narrative. [Here] what is old is made new again by pure virtuosity of execution."—Vancouver Sun

"Deeply imagined, strongly felt, and—deliberately unfashionable. In a good way."—Toronto Life

"Steven Heighton is a writer of high intelligence and wit, an immaculate and sesualist stylist whose prose moves fluidly from the acerbic to the erotic." --Janette Turner Hospital

"Heighton is like a young Ondaatje…a superb craftsman at ease in foreign places and distant times." —The Globe and Mail

"Hypnotic, tense and rich…Heighton’s material is authentic; the scenes are exciting and true." —Quill and Quire

"Heighton is artful both in conveying atmosphere — he has a sharp eye for the texture of life — and narrating a series of engrossing adventures." —Toronto Star

"A rich, multi-layered novel…a remarkable journey of creative and spiritual self-discovery." —eye weekly, (4 star review)

"Vivid and powerfully drawn…an energetic, fluent and interesting novel by a writer who has shown himself to be gifted, capable of exploring and experimenting with language." —The Times Literary Supplement

"A bravura performance, intense and poetic…The Shadow Boxer fizzes with life and energy [and] has a swaggering, larger-than-life quality.”" —Independent on Sunday