James King is the author of six novels and nine biographies, including books on David Milne, William Blake, Margaret Laurence, Jack McClelland, Farley Mowat, and Lawren Harris. His biography of Herbert Read, The Last Modern, was nominated for the Governor General’s Literary Award. A fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, James lives in Hamilton, Ontario.
Thomas Wainewright - Regency fop, literary hanger-on, collector of art and artifacts, forger and deported felon - is considered one of the most notorious of English murderers. He is believed to have been one of the first recorded serial killers. James King takes on this spectral character in his first novel, Faking, and examines a number of serious questions. Was Wainewright a faker? It’s historical "fact" that he forged sketches, paintings, letters and banknotes - but, more importantly, did he fake his life? In a complex tapestry of styles and voices, King plays with the assumptions of originality and experience, of academic fashions and biography. Told through the voice of a Toronto housewife, Thomas Wainewright’s story is revealed through the voices of its main characters: the overly sensitive Tom, who wishes to address the characterizations of which he perceives himself to be victim (an essay by Wilde, a character in Dickens, a novel by Bulwer-Lytton); Tom’s cunning wife, Eliza; his sister-in-law, Helen; and his son, Griffiths. Wainewright asserts his innocence of the murders (of his uncle, his mother-in-law, and his sister-in-law) but lays claim to the more fashionable - if not prestigious - guilt of forging a number of canvases, including the Gainsborough reproduced on the cover of the Simon & Pierre edition of Faking. With a deft hand, James King weaves together the language of the Regency with the language of contemporary prose (while knocking the academic conventions) to provide the reader with a novel that is sure to entertain and, at its end, cause a moment of reflection on the nature and importance of authenticity, of leading an authentic life. The Dundurn Group is pleased to announce the release of James King’s first novel, Faking. This is the first of five literary books to be published this season under the revived literary imprint, Simon & Pierre.
"In his first novel, the critically acclaimed James King takes on this spectral character and weaves together a haunting story that examines the assumptions of authenticity and experience."