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Timothy Findley (1930–2002)

Author of The Wars

31+ Works 6,683 Members 125 Reviews 47 Favorited

About the Author

Timothy Findley was born in 1930. A native of Toronto, Canada, novelist and playwright Timothy Findley initially embarked upon an acting career. Findley worked for the Canadian Stratford Festival and later, after study at London's Central School of Speech and Drama, he toured Britain, Europe, and show more the United States as a contract player. While performing in The Matchmaker by Thornton Wilder, Findley was encouraged by the playwright to write fiction. Influenced by film techniques, Findley's first novel, The Last of the Crazy People (1967) is a penetrating look at a family of "emotional cripples" from a child's perspective. With his character Hooker, Findley captures the irrational logic of a child's mind without treating childhood sentimentally.The Butterfly Plague followed in 1969. The Wars (1978), Findley's most successful novel, has been translated into numerous languages and was made into a film. The Wars uses the device of a story-within-a-story to illustrate how a personality transcends elemental forces even while being destroyed by them. In 1981 Famous Last Words was published. This fictionalization of Hugh Selwyn Mauberley by Ezra Pound, a work that was already a "fictional fact," examines fascism. In Not Wanted on the Voyage (1984), Findley rewrites the story of Noah's Ark by giving voices to women, children, workers, animals, and folklore creatures, all of whom question Noah's authority. The novel turns into a parable that seems to challenge imperialism, eugenics, fascism, and any other force that endangers human survival. Again repeating an earlier text, Findley turns to Thomas Mann's Death in Venice to write The Telling of Lies (1986). This novel draws parallels between World War II atrocities and contemporary North America, which Findley sees as a metaphoric concentration camp. Findley died on June 20, 2002 in Provence, France (Bowker Author Biography) show less
Image credit: Elisabeth Feryn

Works by Timothy Findley

The Wars (1977) 1,176 copies
Pilgrim (1999) 991 copies
Not Wanted on the Voyage (1984) 972 copies
The Piano Man's Daughter (1995) 600 copies
Famous Last Words (1981) 482 copies
Headhunter (1993) 438 copies
Spadework (2001) 372 copies
The Telling of Lies (1986) 285 copies
The Last of the Crazy People (1967) — Author — 238 copies
You Went Away (1996) 204 copies
Stones {anthology} (1988) 183 copies
The Butterfly Plague (1969) 161 copies
Dust to Dust: Stories (1997) 130 copies
Dinner Along the Amazon (1984) 117 copies

Associated Works

The Diviners (1974) — Afterword, some editions — 1,167 copies
Bad Trips (1991) — Contributor — 231 copies
Black Water 2: More Tales of the Fantastic (1990) — Contributor — 152 copies
From Ink Lake: Canadian Stories (1990) — Contributor — 124 copies
The Oxford Book of Canadian Short Stories in English (1986) — Contributor — 112 copies
The New Oxford Book of Canadian Short Stories (1986) — Contributor — 72 copies
Story of a Nation: Defining Moments in Our History (2001) — Contributor — 50 copies
The Oxford Book of Canadian Ghost Stories (1990) — Contributor — 19 copies
Ark of Ice (1992) — Contributor — 15 copies


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Common Knowledge



Group Read, April 2022: The Wars in 1001 Books to read before you die (June 2022)


I loved this book. The descriptive language brought out so many emotions in me and as I finished reading it I was in tears. Has also made me want to find out more about WWI, especially the role Canadians played in it.
beentsy | 24 other reviews | Aug 12, 2023 |
I really liked this book, although it was a bit of a slow start. By the time I was in the last quarter or so I found myself slowing down and trying to make it last a bit longer.

The humanization of C.G. Jung was particularly interesting and I think I might have a look for a biography of him to learn more about his life.
beentsy | 20 other reviews | Aug 12, 2023 |
While I love Timothy Findlay I had some trouble getting into this one. I think I had too many books on my plate and didn't give it my full attention. Findlay always did a superb job depicting instances of insanity as it appears in family stories.
Elizabeth_Blondin | 7 other reviews | May 17, 2022 |
The Wars by Timothy Findley is a short book but it packs a very large punch. The story of one Canadian lad who goes off to the trenches in World War I was an intricate and heart wrenching story. The brutality that the author describes in rich, lyrical language makes it plain that there is really nothing noble about warfare and that the psychological effects of this particular war were devastating.

This book really grabbed me and I think this had a great deal to do with my own grandfather who ran away at age sixteen to fight in World War I. He was caught the first time, but succeeded a year later at seventeen. The things he saw and did affected him for the rest of his life. He kept a diary about his experiences and many of his descriptions matched with this book.

The Wars was a moving account of one Canadian man’s experience during World War I, and while it is not an in-depth exploration, the author introduces his character and allows us to sample his early life, his training and his war experiences that together paint a clear and penetrating picture of the shock and struggle that these soldiers were exposed to. Although the book left me feeling emotionally drained, The Wars was a very impressive read.
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DeltaQueen50 | 24 other reviews | Apr 22, 2022 |



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Associated Authors

James Murray Director
Pierre Berton Original book
James Marsh Cover artist
Mel Odom Cover artist


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