Timothy Findley Biography
(1930–2002), The Last of the Crazy People, The Wars, Famous Last Words
Canadian novelist, born in Toronto. He was an actor and a Hollywood dialogue writer before becoming a full-time author in the early 1960s. He has continued to write for the media, producing radio and television plays and documentaries, usually in collaboration with William Whitehead. Findley's fiction explores boundaries in ‘the countries of our invention’ between fiction, history, and truth. His first novel, The Last of the Crazy People (1967), is a study of a decadent southern Ontario family, seen through the eyes of an 11-year-old protagonist, who can only find love from a servant and his pet cats. The Wars (1977) and Famous Last Words (1981), the latter taking the form of the personal testament of Ezra Pound's character Hugh Selwyn Mauberley, are powerful studies of the horrors of twentieth-century history, centred on the two World Wars. Not Wanted on the Voyage (1984) is a vividly inventive reworking of the story of the Great Flood. As Findley puts it, ‘Everyone knows it wasn't like that’ and ancient myth-making is replaced by contemporary fabulation. He has also published The Butterfly Plague (1969), The Telling of Lies (1986), and Headhunter (1994); a volume of short stories, Dinner along the Amazon (1984); a collection of autobiographical writings, Inside Memory: Pages from a Writer's Workbook (1990); a play, Stillborn Lover (1993); and The Trials of Ezra Pound (1995).