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Hornblower Group Library Hotlist Fall 2023

The Bliss House
By (author): Jim Bartley
Jim Bartley


Rare Machines - Toronto



Product Form:


Form detail:

Paperback , Trade


General Trade
Sep 05, 2023
$24.99 CAD


8.5in x 5.5 x 1 in | 280 gr

Page Count:

240 pages
Dundurn Press
Rare Machines
FICTION / Small Town & Rural
Fiction: general and literary|c 1960 to c 1969|Relating to gay people
Rural Ontario
A queer Thelma and Louise story set in Alice Munro country.

Two young men bringing up a small child in the middle of nowhere. Everything could be fine, but strangers start to meddle.

For near a century the reclusive Bliss clan farmed the same land. Now it’s 1963 and everyone’s gone except teenage Cam, his older cousin Wes, and little Dorie. They buried Gran over a year ago. But Gramp is still with them, wrapped tight as a mummy in an old tarp in the cold room off the kitchen. Life’s better now without the old man’s rants and terrors.

There are problems with the land lease and the meddlesome, moralizing neighbours, and rumours are spreading in town that there’s something not quite right about Cam and Wes, but they’re taking care of it all as best they can. Then the local Children’s Aid drops by to say Dorie needs schooling and proper parents, and it’s clear they can’t hide their secrets any longer. They’re on the road, heading north, with a body in the trunk. Wes knows a place, a cabin deep in the woods …

No matter what they do, gruesome casualties seem to follow them. It could be funny if it wasn’t so nightmarish. And through it all, a tender secret love thrives, as they try to hold on to the family they’ve built together.


  • Inhabits the Ontario heartland of Alice Munro with misfits worthy of Flannery O'Connor and Cormac McCarthy, in a queer Thelma and Louise story
  • By turns tender and horrific, with black humour reminiscent of Joel and Ethan Coen's films, and lots of bodies to dispose of
  • A gay love story unfolds between distant cousins Wes and Cam and drives the desperate action as they attempt to outrun nosy neighbours who keep interfering
  • Comparative titles: Francie's Got a Gun by Carrie Snyder and No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy
  • The story setting takes us from a Southwestern Ontario farm near Wingham and Hanover, and then on a road trip to Northern Ontario
  • Author residence: Toronto and Dufferin County

Jim Bartley was a playwright before he took to prose. His first two novels were set mainly in Balkan war zones. The Bliss House breaks the mould, riffing on Jim's powerful love of rural and wild landscapes. He lives in Toronto and Dufferin County, Ontario.

  • Trade and wholesaler advertising
  • Publicity campaign to targeted media and influencers
  • Representation at international trade shows and conferences
  • Social media campaign and online advertising
  • Email campaigns to consumers, booksellers, and librarians
  • Digital galley available: NetGalley, Edelweiss, Catalist
  • Goodreads giveaway
  • Influencer mailing
  • Author Website:
  • Author Twitter: @eternalwetdog
  • Book hashtag: #BlissHouse

For more information contact
Rajdeep Singh, [email protected]
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