Donald Simmons (theengineer) wrote,
Donald Simmons

Howard Engel

I was at a reading at Hart House (U of T) tonight, for Canadian mystery writers. The guy I was really there to see was Howard Engel, author of the Benny Cooperman books.

I hadn't heard this before, but Engel had a stroke three years back that left him unable to read, although he can still write (as he put it, he can dish it out, but can't take it). He's recovered slightly since then, but it's taken him the last three years to read Great Expectations. Although that could just be Dickens. He still buys books though, but he has to check if they're right side up or not.

He had a friend there to do the actual reading for now obvious reasons (an actor named Tony, I missed his last name, but he looked really familiar), who did a great job, and Engel did the Q&A, mostly on how he's recovered and adapted, which hes done a hell of a lot better than I could have under the same conditions.

The book the reading was from he wrote after his stroke, Memory Room. Benny wakes up in a hospital room after being found unconscious by a dead body. His memory is crap, and he has the same condition Engel now has, which is a serious handicap in a private detective. And I know he doesn't magically get better, Engel's next book has Benny in a Malaysia-like country, where he can't read the signs (even if he could), so he finds it more relaxing than being in Grantham.

I picked up Memory Room and got it signed, and I'm looking forward to reading it (probably once the convention has passed).
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