Cities of Refuge by Michael Helm

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 1 Critic Review



In Cities of Refuge, a single act of violence resonates through several lives, connecting closeby fears to distant political terrors. At the story’s center is the complex, intensely charged relationship between a twenty-eight-year-old woman and the father who abandoned her when she was young.
One summer night on a side street in downtown Toronto, Kim Lystrander is attacked by a stranger. Thrown deep into turmoil, in the weeks and months that follow, she confronts her fear by returning to the night, in writing, searching for harbingers of the incident and clues to the identity of her assailant. The attack also torments Kim's father, Harold, a historian of Latin America. As he investigates the crime on his own, the darkest hours from his past revisit him, and he gradually begins to unravel. Entwined in their stories are Kim’s ailing mother, Marian; Father André Rowe, whose mission to guide others involves him in a decision with troubling consequences; Rodrigo Cantero, a young Colombian man living illegally in the city; and Rosemary Yates, a woman whose faith-based belief in the duty to give asylum to any who seek it, even those judged guilty, draws Harold to her, before a fateful choice changes the future for them all.
Cities of Refuge is a novel of profound moral tension and luminous prose. It weaves a web of incrimination and inquiry, in which mysteries live within mysteries, and stories within stories, and the power to save or condemn rests in the forces of history and in the realm of our deepest longings.

About Michael Helm

See more books from this Author
Michael Helm was born in Saskatchewan. His most recent novel, Cities of Refuge, is a national bestseller in Canada and was a Rogers Writers' Trust Ficiton Award finalist, a Giller Prize nominee, and a Globe and Mail and Now magazine Best Book of the Year. His earlier novels are The Projectionist, a finalist for the Giller Prize and the Trillium Award; and In the Place of Last Things, a finalist for the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize and the regional Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best Book. His writings on fiction, poetry, and the visual arts have appeared in North American newspapers and magazines, including Brick, where he serves as an editor. He teaches at York University in Toronto.
Published February 18, 2013 by Tin House Books. 424 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Cities of Refuge

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

The humanity that informed Helm’s previous novels, including The Projectionist, is again in evidence in this standout about the aftershocks of a brutal crime. Twenty-eight-year-old Kim Lystrander is r

Jan 07 2013 | Read Full Review of Cities of Refuge

Rate this book!

Add Review