Northern Light by Roy Macgregor
The Enduring Mystery of Tom Thomson and the Woman Who Loved Him

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FINALIST 2011 – Ottawa Book Award for Non-Fiction

Roy MacGregor's lifelong fascination with Tom Thomson first led him to write Canoe Lake, a novel inspired by a distant relative's affair with one of Canada's greatest painters. Now, MacGregor breaks new ground, re-examining the mysteries of Thomson's life, loves and violent death in the definitive non-fiction account. Why does a man who died almost a century ago and painted relatively little still have such a grip on our imagination?

The eccentric spinster Winnie Trainor was a fixture of Roy MacGregor's childhood in Huntsville, Ontario. She was considered too odd to be a truly romantic figure in the eyes of the town, but the locals knew that Canada's most famous painter had once been in love with her, and that she had never gotten over his untimely death. She kept some paintings he gave her in a six-quart basket she'd leave with the neighbours on her rare trips out of town, and in the summers she'd make the trip from her family cottage, where Thomson used to stay, on foot to the graveyard up the hill, where fans of the artist occasionally left bouquets. There she would clear away the flowers. After all, as far as anyone knew, he wasn't there: she had arranged at his family's request for him to be exhumed and moved to a cemetery near Owen Sound.

As Roy MacGregor's richly detailed Northern Light reveals, not much is as it seems when it comes to Tom Thomson, the most iconic of Canadian painters. Philandering deadbeat or visionary artist and gentleman, victim of accidental drowning or deliberate murder, the man's myth has grown to obscure the real view — and the answers to the mysteries are finally revealed in these pages.

About Roy Macgregor

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Roy MacGregor is the acclaimed and bestselling author ofHome Team: Fathers, Sons and Hockey (shortlisted for the Governor General's Literary Award);A Life in the Bush(winner of the U.S. Rutstrum Award for Best Wilderness Book and the CAA Award for Biography); andCanadians: A Portrait of a Country and Its People, as well as two novels,Canoe LakeandThe Last Season, and the popularScreech Owlsmystery series for young readers. A regular columnist atThe Globe and Mailsince 2002, MacGregor's journalism has garnered four National Magazine Awards and eight National Newspaper Award nominations. He is an Officer of the Order of Canada, and was described in the citation as one of Canada's "most gifted storytellers." He grew up in Huntsville, Ontario, and has kept returning to the Tom Thomson mystery all his writing life. He lives in Kanata.
Published October 5, 2010 by Random House Canada. 416 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Arts & Photography.

Unrated Critic Reviews for Northern Light

His focus in Northern Light, as indicated by the book’s subtitle, The Enduring Mystery of Tom Thomson and the Woman Who Loved Him, is on the mystery surrounding Thomson’s (possibly violent) death on or near Canoe Lake in Ontario’s Algonquin Park, and the woman who may have been pregnant with his ...

Dec 21 2010 | Read Full Review of Northern Light: The Enduring ...

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