Praise for Susan Swan

“Susan Swan creates myth to lend a story to the problems of our time, a time which has lost touch with its own stories and mythical vocabularies. Swan uses classical modes of story-telling but distorts these modes in order to fit the voice of her time. Her work is a subversion of both the historical and documentary voice which she believes operates under the pretense of being factual and only reflects what we want to see. In subverting these voices, she forces us to look at another reality, a deeper reality which is rooted in something archetypical. Her interest in freaks, in the gothic, in the apocalyptic, are all ways of lending a narration to contemporary myths.”

——Alberto Manguel, critic and author of The History of Reading

Praise for The Western Light

(Photo: Darrin Klimek for The Quill and Quire)

“[Swan’s] poetic descriptions of Ontario’s harsh winter weather and adept use of colloquial speech … are particularly vivid, and help bring the world of the novel to vibrant life.”
—— Quill and Quire


“Mouse Bradford is a unique and luminous creation… Gentleman John Pilkie, the hockey killer with a heart of gold, is dressed and ready to become a legend.”
—— Paul Gross


“With its focus on winter in northern towns, pre-medicare medicine, hockey and the very relevant issue ofconcussions among professional athletes, Swan has added another gem to the Canadian canon.”
—— NOW Magazine


“In a splendid evocation of the 50s, The Western Light speaks of memory, searching and love — both requited and unrequited. It is great read.”
——Sylvia Sutherland (reader review from


Articles and Reviews for The Western Light

Cover story in September issue of Quill & Quire: Swan’s Way


Chatelaine Review:


Review in NOW magazine:


Interview on CFRU Guelph Community Campus Radio:


Review in Quill & Quire:


Included in The Canadian Press fall 2012 preview:


Open Book Toronto Word on the Street interview:


Petroliatopic Article: Lambton oil history gets novel treatment by best-selling author


The London Free Press: Swan Switches Focus to Heroism


The Canadian Press: Susan Swan explores thoughts on her own late father with ‘The Western Light’


The New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal:


Review in The Toronto Star:


The Vancouver Sun: Mystery of goodness meets evil in coming-of-age tale


Visit The Western Light page.

Praise for What Casanova Told Me

What Casanova Told Me, published in 2004, has also enjoyed rave reviews: a finalist for? the 2004 Canada Caribbean Commonwealth Regional Prize; picked as one? of The Globe and Mail’s top books of 2004; selected as one of? the top ten books of the year by Canada’s Sun-Times, the Calgary Herald and ?Toronto’s NOW magazine; and the December edition of Macleans (Canada’s? national magazine) named the novel’s protagonist Asked For Adams one? of the five best fictional characters for 2004.

In its inventive range, its playful engagement and tantalizing mystery, What Casanova Told Me is breathtaking, a tour de force that detonates echoes of the past within the present. Utterly seductive. The lesson learned here is simple: Leave home, fall in love and believe in the accidents of pleasure and freedom.” — Globe & Mail, September 18, 2004

“Rich in interesting digressions into subjects as diverse as Minoan goddess worship and Western Orientalist stereotypes. Swan …has much to say about the emotional risks required to live a fulfilled life.” —The Washington Post

“One of Swan’s best.” — NOW Toronto

“A fictional character takes up with the legendary and complex lover.The ramifications span two centuries.”— George Fetherling, Vancouver Sun, January 8, 2005

“A very tall 18th-century Yankee with an unfortunate relationship with her body (which she refers to as My Poor Friend) is the awkward but utterly charming core of Susan Swan’s parallel-track historical novel What Casanova Told Me.?”— Brian Bethune, Macleans Year in review: literature, December, 2004

“Elegantly sensual … Swan has created an exotic romance, a rollicking adventure, a work of prose that could almost be poetry…. This magnificently sad and funny and exciting trip is, indeed, one you’d be very sad you missed.” — Calgary Herald

“Swan explores travel, home, love, sex, culture and communication in this splendid book. You will probably want to read it more than once, for the suspense of the story and the beauty of the language.”— Vancouver Sun

“By the end of the novel, we are in a position to take to heart Casanova’s – and Swan’s – insights into travel, and the treasures it has in store for those with the openness to otherness it demands. Casanova is Swan’s The Volcano Lover.”— Centre for Feminist Research, York University

“York humanities Professor Susan Swan’s new book celebrates the unexpected in life and travel as a form of love…”— York University’s Y File.

“This bawdy, fun, intelligent novel combines the feel of a trashy historical romance with the sophistication of novels such as The Hours and Possession…. What Casanova Told Me is a natural for its own feature film.” — Flare, September 2004

“Part travelogue, part bodice-ripper, there is something both titillating and fantastical about this type of historical fiction, and Swan is adept at spinning facts into vividly imagined scenes and characters.”— Quill & Quire

“Alluring. The stories (of the two protagonists) weave together well, and Asked For, in particular, has a bright, engaging voice.”—Publishers Weekly

“Swan writes with thoughtful, inviting prose that promises intrigue for all fiction readers, and she fills the story with the historical and cultural details that will surely give fans of historical fiction the experience they desire.” —Booklist

“This is an elegant, thoughtful, and classy novel: complex, leisurely, and wonderfully romantic.” Read the entire review.—Grumpy Old Bookman (a top ten literary blog)

Visit the What Casanova Told Me page

Praise for the feature film Lost and Delirious

“One of the most carefully crafted, most professional films [of 2001] … the characters are enormously interesting and likeable [and] gorgeous.”
-Roger Ebert

“The story this movie portrays is one of the most touching and heart-wrenching stories I’ve ever heard. When watching this movie, I was so caught up in the lives of these girls it was hard for me to bring myself back into my own life. I seriously believe this movie has opened my eyes to how truly important love is in this world, no matter what form it comes in.”–Customer Review, Barnes & Noble, March 26, 2002

Visit the Film & Adaptations page.


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