The Architects Are Here.


375 pages
ISBN 978-0-670-06627-8
DDC C813'.54





Reviewed by R. Gordon Moyles

R. Gordon Moyles is professor emeritus of English at the University of
Alberta, co-author of Imperial Dreams and Colonial Realities: British
Views of Canada, 1880–1914, and author of The Salvation Army and the


“This is a story about my friend David Twombly and about the nature of our friendship.” So begins Gabe English’s sometimes funny, often painful, ever-poignant narrative. It is a story of loves shared by several people whose lives intertwine. But it is also a story about the angst of a modern lifestyle, of educated sensibilities, of the contrasts between the frenetic pace of life in Montreal and Toronto and the seemingly pastoral, fishing-on-the–Humber River kind of life represented by their early Newfoundland student days. I say “seemingly” because the idyll is an illusion: there are sinister forces at work all along the way, even in the most inviting places. The architects of fate are waiting, always waiting. “I think of it,” says Gabe, “because we all wonder if we’re at the end of the good times. Our generation will be the last, we think. A head and shoulders has formed and now there is nothing but, at best, a slow decline in the natural world while the man-made world has accelerated and we will be the last ones able to separate the two…. The architects are here, we said to ourselves, and to the future.”


It is a truthful and sobering thought, and Michael Winter brilliantly vivifies the moral dilemmas that the thought implies. He is, without doubt, a masterful writer, creating an originality of place (or places), reaching into the recesses of the mind, making us pause often to savour the thought or, as often, the expression of that thought and leaving us both aesthetically satisfied and emotionally shaken up.


Winter, Michael., “The Architects Are Here.,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 21, 2024,