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House of Anansi Press

Twitch Force

Written by Michael Redhill

Published April 09, 2019 | ISBN 9781487006181
POETRY / Canadian / General

Cover of Twitch Force

Regular price $19.95 CAD

112 pages | 8.5 in × 5.5 in
Print Format

About this book

Twitch Force

Michael Redhill

A muscle’s “twitch force” is a measurement of its energy potential. It’s history dependent: you can forget it, but it’s engraved on you where you can’t see it, and all it wants to do is repeat. Scotiabank Giller Prize winner Michael Redhill’s first collection of poetry in eighteen years, Twitch Force has a gnomic, satirical, and lucid intelligence. In “Ingredients,” heredity’s recipe is told via short-form family narrative; in “My Arrangements,” a stolen laptop battery leads to an encounter with the Israeli Olympic women’s beach volleyball team; while in “The Women,” human beauty is parsed down to the level of chromosomes: “I’m beautiful; I have my mother’s feet. The women who change into men are beautiful men who were once beautiful women.”

This is poetry concerned with love and its loss, despair and hard-won hope, knowledge and essential mystery, aging and timelessness. Readers are cautioned: ideas that present as self-explanatory may be closer than they appear. Twitch Force is a stunningly realized return to the form from one of Canada’s bravest and most original poets.

About the Author

Michael Redhill

MICHAEL REDHILL is the author of five collections of poetry, the most recent of which is Light-crossing (2001, House of Anansi Press), and seven novels, some of which were written under the pseudonym Inger Ash Wolfe. His 2006 novel, Consolation, reimagined Toronto’s mid-nineteenth century and was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize. His most recent novel, Bellevue Square, won the 2017 Scotiabank Giller Prize. He edited and published Brick: A Literary Journal from 1998 to 2007, and continues to teach as well as edit. He lives in Toronto and has two sons.

Awards and Praise


A CBC Book of the Year

“Full of short, snappy sentences, quick turnarounds, straight talk, science facts, and conversational diction … Poems ready to pounce.” — Globe and Mail


“He writes with clarity and precision, incorporating astounding imagery with a clean, intelligent perceptiveness.” — Carolyn Smart

“There’s always that awareness of time and its motions, motions past and still en route, both of these directions adding depth and a hush of thought to the poems.” — Don Coles

“Redhill packs a hell of a punch. As someone once remarked of Sonny Liston: ‘He hurts when he breathes on you.’” — Guardian

“Redhill writes with a rare and beguiling blend of delicacy and power.” — Scotsman


Winner, Scotiabank Giller Prize
A National Bestseller
A Globe and Mail 100 Best Book
A National Post 99 Best Book
A CBC Best Book of the Year
A Kobo Best Book of the Year
A NOW Magazine Best Book of the Year

“To borrow a line from Michael Redhill’s beautiful Bellevue Square, ‘I do subtlety in other areas of my life.’ So let’s look past the complex literary wonders of this book, the doppelgangers and bifurcated brains and alternate selves, the explorations of family, community, mental health, and literary life. Let’s stay straightforward and tell you that beyond the mysterious elements, this novel is warm, and funny, and smart. Let’s celebrate that it is, simply, a pleasure to read.” — Scotiabank Giller Prize Jury Citation

“The opening chapters of this new opus, Bellevue Square, stick closely to the grip-lit script: simple, compelling prose, sudden plot twists, looming violence, and a female narrator who swiftly proves unreliable. But as the reader becomes more and more absorbed in the story, the book quietly becomes something else. Something mystifying and haunting and entirely its own … Reading Bellevue Square is as captivating as it is unsettling … This modern ghost story … will not soon be forgotten.” — Toronto Star

Bellevue Square is something of a performance … In its taut span of 262 pages, Bellevue Square features several narrative and tonal hairpin turns. With each of these, our admiration for Redhill’s storytelling dexterity burgeons … I’d rather be lost in Redhill’s ghost story than grounded in your average slab of tasteful literary realism.” — Globe and Mail

“Described often as a dark, comic thriller, Bellevue Square is packed full of themes keeping the reader a little off balance but always entertained.” — Vancouver Sun

“Not since Paul Auster’s City of Glass has there been a novel this engaging about doppelgangers and the psychological horror they wreak … As chilling as that stranger you’re pretty sure has been following you all afternoon.” — The Title

“There’s a boldness to [Bellevue Square] and, at its best, a genuine thrill.” — The Walrus

“By turns harrowing and mesmerizing.” — Quill & Quire

“Even as we start doubting Jean we can’t stop loving her. Along the way, Redhill gives us a ton of twists and turns and makes Toronto one of the stars of the show.” — NOW Magazine

“Sit yourself down in Bellevue Square and watch as parallel worlds collide. Redhill has written a mind-blowing brainteaser of a novel with plot twists worthy of David Lynch. A brilliant tribute to those among us whose brains are wired differently.” — Neil Smith, author of Boo