In 1984, Jolene Iolas, a student in upstate New York, encounters Martin Sloane’s art while visiting a Toronto gallery. Flush with the confidence of youth, she strikes up a correspondence with the older artist, and eventually the two become lovers. Introduced to a constancy of love she has never known, Jolene relaxes into the rituals of being someone’s other half. She learns Martin’s story and cherishes it as her own. He becomes a fixture in her life, a star in her sky.
And then, he vanishes. There is no hint of his fate, no chain of cause to be followed. Over a long fall, the shock slowly hardening into fact, Jolene sheds her life, losing everything, including her oldest friend, Molly, to inexpressible grief.
Ten years pass, Jolene slowly learns to stop trying to make sense of it all. But before she can fully return to life, the opportunity to confront a ghost arises. Word has come from Molly, of all people, that someone named Sloane has been exhibiting artworks identical to Martin’s in Irish galleries. Jolene travels to Dublin, where she reluctantly reconnects with Molly and together, they find themselves lost in a jumble of pasts as they try to piece together what happened to Martin Sloane.
Winner of the 2001 Amazon.ca/Books in Canada First Novel Award
Nominated for the 2001 Giller Prize, the 2002 Trillium Book Award, the 2002 City of Toronto Book Award, and the 2002 Commonwealth Writers Prize
“Martin Sloane exhibits a[n] unbounded intelligence. [It] made me feel melancholic, hopeful, amused, energized, enlightened, unnerved, touched and finally grateful that occasionally a writer comes along who gets real life just right.” — New York Times Book Review
“Redhill paces this sad and oblique detective story with great heart and delicacy. His writing drifts in and out of Jolene’s mind, cursed with memory, as she explores how little we might know of the people we feel closest to, and as she experiences the irrational pain of effect without apparent cause. At the heart of this story is an understanding of how this kind of emotional damage might be transmitted across time and between generations and how its pain might perhaps be mitigated by the comfort of objects …” —The Guardian UK
“Redhill’s book, not unlike the later stories of Henry James, is a work of fiction in which thoughts speak more loudly than words and the distinction between art and life is the story’s real mystery.” San Francisco Chronicle