Pyper, Andrew 1968-

views updated

Pyper, Andrew 1968-


Born 1968, in Stratford, Ontario, Canada; son of John and Olive Pyper. Education: McGill University, B.A., M.A.; University of Toronto, law degree.


Home—Toronto, Canada. Agent—Anne McDermid and Associates, 83 Willcocks St., Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 1C9.


Berton House, Dawson City (now Dawson), Yukon Territory, Canada, worked as writer-in-residence; Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario, Canada, writer-in-residence at Champlain College, 1997-98.


Writers Union of Canada, Celebrate Canada Management Team (honorary member).


Arthur Ellis Award, best first novel, nomination for best new author award, Canadian Booksellers' Association, and editor's choice, notable book of the year, Globe and Mail, all 1999, and notable book of the year citations, New York Times and London Evening Standard, both 2000, all for Lost Girls.


Kiss Me (short stories), Porcupine's Quill (Erin, Ontario, Canada), 1996.

Lost Girls (novel), HarperFlamingoCanada (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1999, Delacorte Press (New York, NY), 2000.

The Trade Mission (novel), Scribner (New York, NY), 2003.

The Wildfire Season (novel), Thomas Dunne Books (New York, NY), 2005.

Contributor to periodicals, including Globe and Mail (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), Ottawa Citizen, Montreal Gazette, Saturday Night, enRoute, Gear, New Quarterly, Malahat Review, and Toronto Life.


Canadian author Andrew Pyper has published critically-praised short stories and novels. His initial collection of short stories, Kiss Me, was well received by critics. "Pyper has received significant media attention," noted Michael Holmes in Essays on Canadian Writing, "and has been touted as the Canadian literary voice of post GenXers, slackers, and losers…. But unlike many of his peers, Pyper does not really deserve this kind of flavour-of-the-month treatment. He's a much better writer, and Kiss Me is a much better book."

"The 13 stories in Kiss Me illuminate moments of surprising gladness and quiet doom. Andrew Pyper knows that love often fails us miserably, leaving us scanning the landscape in astonishment," commented Martha Wilson in the Canadian Book Review Annual. Lisa Godfrey in Quill & Quire called the collection "quite evidently the work of a younger writer" based on its focus on the search for meaning in the world outside the family, though she cited the collection for having poorly drawn female characters. Holmes lauded the work, describing the stories as "carefully crafted, sparing, and highly self-conscious pieces that are also eminently readable, refreshingly idiosyncratic, and pointedly satiric—a literary and cultural voyeur's cornucopia."

Lost Girls, Pyper's first novel and a bestseller in Canada, was received with similar enthusiasm. A crime thriller that was described by Booklist reviewer Wes Lukowsky as a "debut to remember," the story centers on the case of high school English teacher Thomas Tripp, who is accused of murder when two girls in his class go missing after having been last seen with him. Bartholomew Crane, a jaded Toronto lawyer, investigates the crime, dealing all the while with spooky details that include a phantom phone whose rings only he can hear. "Everything about this dark, disquieting story confounds expectations," wrote Marilyn Stasio in the New York Times Book Review. Molly Gorman, writing in the Library Journal, noted the book's lush style and "outrageous yet believable characters," while a contributor to Publishers Weekly praised the novel as a "spell-binding" suspense story and psychological thriller.

Pyper's second novel, The Trade Mission, is set in the Brazilian rain forest, where an American couple on business are abducted and tortured by paramilitary pirates. Though they are eventually able to escape into the jungle, they must continue to evade their captors while surviving under brutal conditions without food or water. In Booklist, reviewer Michael Gannon concluded that the book's literary aspirations weaken its appeal as a thriller. "The novel takes a serious wrong turn," wrote a contributor to Publishers Weekly, "when the kidnapped are harbored by a tribe of Yanomami Indians." According to this reviewer, Pyper's observations on social issues here—including the exploitation of the rain forest and its indigenous inhabitants by greedy westerners—feel "contrived" and are a distraction from the plot.

In The Wildfire Season, which New York Times Book Review contributor Marilyn Stasio hailed as a "fierce morality tale," a young man who was badly burned and scarred while fighting a forest fire moves to the Yukon to escape from painful memories, which include the woman he had loved, Alex. Now involved with another woman, Miles is stunned when Alex arrives in town with their young daughter, whom he had no idea existed. Miles's life gets more complicated when his fire crew face escalating dangers from the forest fires that an arsonist is setting in the region, as well the perils of a grizzly bear hunt. A Publishers Weekly reviewer admired the novel's fast pacing, believable characters, and subtle psychological insights. For Christine DeZelar-Tiedman, writing in the Library Journal, the human dimensions of The Wildfire Season were sometimes awkwardly juxtaposed with what she described as the book's "over-the-top action-movie-style heroics," but she added that the book nevertheless provides both satisfying characterizations and plot. In Booklist, Maureen O'Connor described The Wildfire Season as an "edge-of-the-seat thriller." As Liz Hughes concluded in an Armchair Interviews piece on The Wildfire Season, Pyper is a "writer to watch."



Booklist, March 15, 2000, Wes Lukowsky, review of Lost Girls, p. 1334; January 1, 2003, Michael Gannon, review of The Trade Mission, p. 850; November, 1, 2006, Maureen O'Connor, review of The Wildfire Season, p. 31.

Canadian Book Review Annual, 1996, Martha Wilson, review of Kiss Me, p. 3119.

Essays on Canadian Writing, spring, 1997, Michael Holmes, "X-Ray Specs and Andrew Pyper's Static First Kiss," pp. 125-128.

Kirkus Reviews, November 15, 2002, review of The Trade Mission, p. 1650; September 15, 2006, review of The Wildfire Season, p. 926.

Library Journal, May 15, 2000, Molly Gorman, review of Lost Girls, p. 126; October 1, 2006, Christine DeZelar-Tiedman, review of The Wildfire Season, p. 59.

New York Times Book Review, May 7, 2000, Marilyn Stasio, review of Lost Girls; December 24, 2006, Marilyn Stasio, "Yukon Burning."

Publishers Weekly, March 13, 2000, review of Lost Girls, p. 61; December 16, 2002, review of The Trade Mission, p. 44; October 2, 2006, review of The Wildfire Season, p. 40.

Quill & Quire, October, 1996, Lisa Godfrey, review of Kiss Me, p. 41.


Andrew Pyper Home Page, (May 2, 2007).

Armchair Interviews, (May 2, 2007), Liz Hughes, review of The Wildfire Season.

Danforth Review, (May 2, 2007), Michael Bryson, review of Lost Girls.