Charlie Waterfield

Created by Andrew Kaufman

Middle-aged and recently divorced, CHARLIE WATERFIELD is no private eye.

But one cold winter night, Charlie splits a cab fare with a stranger in a purple hat, and as they chat, a cloud of purple smoke floods the vehicle, and poofs him away. When he wakes up, he discovers himself sitting at a desk, apparently the only employee of the Epiphany Detective Agency in Metaphoria, a bizarro other place where everything might mean something (or maybe not), where emotions manifest themselves as physical objects, and everything is taken literally. Everything is exactly what it seems.

Except when it isn’t.

And then it gets really peculiar, in a sort of Monty Python Through the Looking Glass Way

Seems a woman, Shirley, is determined to hire Charlie to find her husband Twiggy’s missing heart, and replaces Charlie’s own heart with a time bomb, as an incentive. It’s set to explode in forty-eight hours — unless he solves the case.

Happens all the time, right?

Although in The Ticking Heart (2019), a three-part fantasy novel by Canadian writer Andrew Kaufmant, it’s pretty much par for the course. The first part deals with Charlie’s little problem, while in the second, back presumably in “the real world,” we meet the recently institutionalized Warren Templeman, a frustrated writer who’s just lost his wife and daughter, and claims to scouting Earth on behalf of some space aliens, while the concluding part begins on the Warren’s daughter’s ninth birthday.

Confused? Me too, but a lot of people are loving this odd and  at times even charming little book. There’s already a whiff of cult about it.

But Chandler it ain’t.

Toronto’s Andrew Kaufman is the author of several novels, including All My Friends Are SuperheroesSmall Claims, The Waterproof BibleThe Tiny Wife, and Born Weird, which was named a Best Book of the Year by The Globe and Mail and was shortlisted for the Leacock award for humor.


  • “Despite the book’s short length, there’s a lot going on here, and it’s not always clear if Charlie’s journey is intended as satire or a symbolically rich inner journey à la Robertson Davies’ Jungian novel The Manticore… Kaufman’s novel is expansive and imaginative, but at times its cartoonish sense of whimsy feels overpowering rather than nuanced.”
    — Kirkus Reviews


Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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