John Munin is a rational man, a gifted Montreal psychiatrist who believes that the soul and psyche are interesting only in dissection. Even relationships are ripe for analysis, and Munin has identified "six elements that are necessary for love." His wife, Cynthia, an aspiring artist who paints only self-portraits, remains unconvinced taht love can be so quantified. More susceptible to Munin's seraching analysis, though, is Penelope, who suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder and is Munin's star patient. Munin plans to present Penelope's case at a major medical conference in Nevada. But something has happened to the probing psychiatrist recently, and in the aftermath his orderly world crumbles in the crucible of the desert. Set against the bizarre backdrop of Las Vegas where fate can change unalterably with the turn of a card, Munin is forced to question all of the truths he has held dear. Do events happen due to careful planning or is life just a game of chance? If God played diece with the universe, would he win?
Steven Manners's previous novel was Ondine's Curse, published in 2000. He is also the author of Wound Ballistics, a short story collection that was shortlisted for the Quebec Writers' Federation's Hugh MacLennan Prize for Best Fiction in 2003. Recently, he published Super Pills, a cultural history of prescription drugs and a must-read by the Canadian Medical Association Journal. He lives in Montreal.