Happy book birthday to Ian Weir‘s THE DEATH AND LIFE OF STROTHER PURCELL, published yesterday with Goose Lane Editions​!

An archetypal saga of obsession, treachery, lost love, murder and revenge. A deadpan revisionist Western, refracted through the lens of a Southern Gothic revenge tragedy, THE DEATH AND LIFE OF STROTHER PURCELL is a novel about the power of the past…and the lengths we’ll go in order to invent it.

Ian Weir is a screenwriter, playwright and novelist. His debut novel Daniel O’Thunder, published in 2009, was a finalist for four awards: the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize Best First Book Award, the Amazon.ca First Novel Award, the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize and the e Canadian Authors Association’s Award for Fiction. Among his extensive television credits, he was the writer and executive producer of the acclaimed crime thriller Dragon Boys, a CBC miniseries that first aired in 2007. His stage plays have been produced across Canada and in the U.S. and U.K., and he is the author of ten radio dramas. He has won two Geminis, four Leos, a Jessie and the Writers Guild of Canada Canadian Screenwriting Award. His last novel, Will Starling, was longlisted for the Dublin IMPAC and published in Canada and the U.S.


“This is an outstanding novel, alternately tragic and funny, grim and joyous, about spilled blood, shattered lives, and the redemptive power of both the smallest good deed and the grand selfless act.” Publishers Weekly​, starred review

“Ian Weir’s The Death and Life of Strother Purcell is a literary exegesis on truth disguised as a rollicking, tragic Western entertainment. Cain and Abel and the Sisters brothers got nothing on towering Strother Purcell and his club-footed half-brother Elijah Dillashay. When lies are this well-loved they transform into truth and truth into history. On top of all that, it’s hilarious.”
-Hart Hanson, author of Driver and creator of Bones

“Ian Weir takes every trope in the Western’s play-book – the one-eyed avenging lawman, the feckless brother, tarts both with and without hearts, gunslingers, gimps and gamblers – and makes of them something new and utterly wonderful. Any writer who uses ‘walrus’ as verb gets my vote. This wildly entertaining and witty yarn made me gasp, hoot and holler. If Clint doesn’t play Strother Purcell in the movie I’ll eat my stetson.”
-C. C. Humphreys, author of Plague and Chasing the Wind

“What a fantastic yarn, as they say, by turns tragic and droll, intimate and expansive, with every thread stretching taut towards an epic conclusion. The Life and Death of Strother Purcell is also, if you get past the page-turning thrill of it, a fascinating and insightful commentary on how stories are built, and on our determination to see them come to light and be given their due. As for Strother, he strides on the page — epic and tragic—a man trapped in the myths of manhood and gunslinging, a man of a bygone era, who cannot allow bygones to be just that.”
-Claire Mulligan, author of The Reckoning of Boston Jim and The Dark

The Death and Life of Strother Purcell is masterfully crafted storytelling, witty and pacy and scratchy with grit. When it comes to the ‘Canadian Western,’ Ian Weir thrills and heartbreaks in similar ways as Guy Vanderhaeghe, and if that all sounds like a good time – and it is – you ought to read them both.”
-Andrew Pyper, author of The Only Child and The Demonologist