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Rabbit Foot Bill

A Novel

by Helen Humphreys

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literary, historical
list price: $19.99
also available: eBook Hardcover
category: Fiction
published: 2021
publisher: HarperCollins

A lonely boy in a prairie town befriends a local outsider in 1947 and then witnesses a shocking murder. Based on a true story.

Canwood, Saskatchewan, 1947. Leonard Flint, a lonely boy in a small farming town befriends the local outsider, a man known as Rabbit Foot Bill. Bill doesn’t talk much, but he allows Leonard to accompany him as he sets rabbit snares and to visit his small, secluded dwelling. 

Being with Bill is everything to young Leonard—an escape from school, bullies and a hard father. So his shock is absolute when he witnesses Bill commit a sudden violent act and loses him to prison.

Fifteen years on, as a newly graduated doctor of psychiatry, Leonard arrives at the Weyburn Mental Hospital, both excited and intimidated by the massive institution known for its experimental LSD trials. To Leonard’s great surprise, at the Weyburn he is reunited with Bill and soon becomes fixated on discovering what happened on that fateful day in 1947.

Based on a true story, this page-turning novel from a master stylist examines the frailty and resilience of the human mind.


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Editorial Reviews

“A finely rendered story about people trying to find inner peace after their worlds have been turned upside down. Both shocking and tender, Rabbit Foot Bill is a riveting tale, full of compassion and told without judgement.” 

— Governor General’s Award winning author Dianne Warren 

“One of the best — and most wonderfully experimental — historical fiction titles of the year. . . . Humphreys is an extraordinary writer. Truly spectacular.”

— Toronto Star

“[Humphreys’] impressive ability to tell a story through the ordinary actions of her characters makes reading Machine Without Horses an effortless pleasure.”

— Winnipeg Free Press


— No Source

“This gem of a novel is as unique as the woman who inspired it. . . . A transcendent life-honouring work.”

— Postmedia

Machine Without Horses is so good, so powerful, that I cannot imagine reading the likes again.”

— Owen Sound Sun-Times
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About the Author

Helen Humphreys

HELEN HUMPHREYS is an acclaimed and award-winning author of fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Her work includes the novel Machine Without Horses, The Evening Chorus, Coventry and Afterimage and her non-fiction includes The Ghost Orchard and The Frozen Thames, as well as the memoir Nocturne. She has won the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize and the Toronto Book Award, and she has been a finalist for the Governor General’s Award for Fiction, the Trillium Book Prize, the Lambda Literary Award and CBC Radio’s Canada Reads. The recipient of the Harbourfront Festival Prize for literary excellence, Helen Humphreys lives in Kingston, Ontario.



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