by Bruce McDougall
Publication Date: January 15, 2021
A gifted but naïve sculptor from Canada settles in Lake Worth, a neighborhood near Palm Beach, attracted by the palm trees and content to sell his work at a nearby flea market. He’s joined by his brother, who is attracted to Palm Beach by the money. The brother sells three of the sculptor’s pieces through a local art dealer, who creates a market for the work among his wealthy clientele at absurdly inflated prices. When a claim is filed after one of the pieces is stolen, the insurance company’s investigation threatens to expose the dealer’s questionable tactics and his clients’ gullibility.
The artist resists temptation and maintains the integrity of his work. He also refuses to create sculptures to order, even if they might fetch far more money than he receives for the pieces he creates for himself. But in an insular world of sordid corruption, where contacts matter more than friendship, money buys acquiescence to corruption, and everything and everyone has a price, he questions the value of his integrity and wonders if he hasn’t deluded himself into thinking that there are more important things in life than money.
The Lizards of Palm Beach
Bruce McDougall’s stories and essays have appeared in journals such as The Antigonish Review, Easy Street, Geist, subTerrain and the Amsterdam Review. He has published a short-story collection called Every Minute is a Suicide (Porcupine’s Quill, 2014), which was compared favorably to the writing of Alice Munro. His non-fiction novel, The Last Hockey Game (Goose Lane Editions, 2014), was heralded as one of the outstanding books in recent years about professional hockey. It was a Toronto Book Award finalist along with novels by Margaret Atwood, Emily St. John Mandel and André Alexis. As a journalist, Bruce has written for The Globe and Mail, the Report on Business, Maclean’s, Canadian Business and other publications. Before becoming a full-time writer, he worked as a tail sawyer in a sawmill, a companion for mentally handicapped adolescents, an airport attendant, a bouncer, a taxi driver and a newspaper reporter. He is a graduate of Harvard College, where he was an editor of The Harvard Lampoon, and he attended the University of Toronto Law School, twice.
Critical Acclaim for The Lizards of Palm Beach
"Fast paced and elegantly plotted, shrewdly observant, The Lizards of Palm Beach is a novel for our time, a tale of decadence, sordid glamour and ambition run amok. Bruce McDougall has written a skewering portrait of the idle rich at play, casting a gimlet eye on their affectations, illusions and most of all their appetites—for money, for art, for prestige and a higher perch on the social ladder. Wise, literate and achingly funny, McDougall wields his comic pen with the precision of a surgeon. I couldn’t stop reading."
─Andrea Barnet, author of All-Night Party: The Women of Bohemian Greenwich Village and Harlem, 1913-1930
“In this smooth as silk satirical novel, the filthy rich get what they so richly deserve.”
─ Lawrence Scanlan, author of A Year of Living Generously: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Philanthropy
“Bruce McDougall is wickedly observant. His descriptions, replete with knowing detail, paint the picture beneath the plot. In the process, he finds the hollow core that money builds around art and those who believe its worth can only be determined by the amount it costs.”
─ Kit White, Artist and author, 101 Things To Learn In Art School, MIT Press, 2011
Critical Acclaim for Every Minute is a Suicide: stories
“Break,break,break is as perfect a story as I have ever read."
─ Shelagh Rogers, CBC host
"Uly and I both read your piece on Dawson City. Uly was moved to tears and loved the writing. I'm a harder guy about crying jags, but I, too, loved the writing, how seamless it was. Funny, smart, engaging throughout, sad. "Whoop-dee-doodle" failed to come up on my Mac dictionary. It's so you. I hope the piece finds a wider audience."
─ Lawrence Scanlan, author of The Man Who Listens to Horses
RE: Every Minute is a Suicide: "I laughed out loud at least a dozen times; I felt induced to read certain passages aloud to myself, because I admired the writing so much, and, finally, it reduced me to tears. That doesn't happen to me as often as it should."
─ Steven Heighton, author of Afterlands (Knopf)
Critical Acclaim for The Last Hockey Game
“There can be no question after reading this excellent addition to hockey's literary canon that our game isn't now and will never be the same as it was then."
─Jim Millican, Winnipeg Free Press
"Bruce McDougall harks back to the final game of the supposedly golden six-team era of the NHL. Fortunately, in The Last Hockey Game, McDougall largely resists the nostalgic English Canadian nationalism that such an undertaking might entail."
─James Cullingham, Toronto Star
“I am one-third through Bruce McDougall’s The Last Hockey Game and it is already the best hockey book I’ve ever read, going away."
─Bill Scheft, comedy writer (David Letterman), columnist (Sports Illustrated)