The Shoe on the Roof by Will Ferguson


“They found it, tucked out of sight, exactly where she said it would be: a single shoe, on the roof.”

— Will Ferguson, The Shoe on the Roof

    Giller prize-winning author of 419 returns with a different and unique story that tackles sanity and madness through the eyes of a man who breaks everything down with science. This work of fiction is the story of Thomas Rosanoff’s, one of the most arrogant and self-centered character I’ve endured in my life. His recent breakup pushes him to conduct an unorthodox research in search for answers that he believes will be a major breakthrough in the field of science. What exactly are we talking about? Thomas examines the idea of two objects not being able to hold the same space at the same time, but transposed on identities. To do so, he brings together three completely different men of different ages and with different backgrounds who all claim to be messiahs. By trying to conduct an experiment where they’d all come together and confront their delusions of grandeur, Thomas believes he’ll be able to find the cure to these false identities. The purpose behind this quest however has multiple angles, and one of them being able to get his girlfriend back, but this experiment does not end like he thought it would.


    The main protagonist has a peculiar background and it often plays a big role in the story itself. While he’s a med student who thinks highly of himself, he’s also the son of a famous psychiatrist who’s legacy continually haunts Thomas as he tries to create his own. As a kid, Thomas spent his entire life known as the “Boy in the Box”, essentially a guinea pig to his father’s experiment, which brought him fame. With Thomas as the main character, you’re however forced to indulge his personality that can be very hard to swallow and enjoy. While he can sometimes pull off jokes with his sly humour, he still rubs off as a completely rude character who has a relatively close-minded perception of life. Everything he sees is drowned in this scientific explanation and completely obliterates any opinion that dares to defy reason. Only logic prevails and Thomas won’t let you go until he’s convinced you of this. Very often you’ll have a lot neuroscience explanations (from mirror neurons to cognitive shenanigans) that’ll pop up left and right as you read this story.

    I have to give a round of applause to Will Ferguson for creating such a provocative character and for having done such an important research to be able to stay coherent without ever feeling like the science was just thrown into the mix for the sake of it. It is however hard to enjoy. Sometimes I just felt like playing the devil’s advocate and prove him wrong so he wouldn’t keep on moving forward without anything stopping him in his tracks. But with someone like that, love, art and religion are continuously challenged and offers reader an opportunity to think about the very essence that makes these things so unique and different. Along with Thomas also comes the three messiahs and Will Ferguson does a great job in creating this unique characters and in establishing an intriguing and jolted dynamic between all four of them. As the story progresses, things become quite complex and it’s nice to see that all the development wasn’t in vain.


    The Shoe on the Roof also has a mystery element to it towards the end. If anything, it felt out of place, but then again, this book covers so many fields, it’s not surprising that it even had such a component integrated. This book isn’t exactly something I sought for in my every day reading habits, but it is one that can be totally worth checking out just for its ability to provoke. I won’t hesitate to say that I wasn’t a fan of the protagonist or the way he sees women; or even life in general. It had this tinge of a stereotypical med student who thinks high and mighty about himself and has everything going for him because of their background, but the author still does a great job in developing his character. Sometimes great characters can be created without readers ever being able to connect with them too. I did have an issue related to how Thomas conducts his research and how it sometimes blew my mind how unethical and unrealistic it seemed. In fact, just the way the story went head first into that direction seemed so wrong considering that a breakup is what caused it all and his desire to get back with his girlfriend that made him conduct this experiment in the first place; you’ll have to read the book to know how these experiments are even connected to his girlfriend. The Shoe on the Roof is still an interesting story that tackles some important subjects related to mental illness through a religion versus science clash.


Are you interested in The Shoe on the Roof?
How about you read this book for yourself!
You can purchase your copy @Amazon Canada or @Chapters Indigo now!

The Shoe on the Roof came out on October 17th, 2017!

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41 thoughts on “The Shoe on the Roof by Will Ferguson

  1. I don’t really know what to say… you sure know how to pick them :-). it sounds orginal but also a bit ridiculous and the religious and science involvement can be a tricky minefield. I think I’d feel a bit frustrated at times, both by the 3 messiahs where you still won’t be able to win any arguments against and by the break-down of everything to science. Thomas’ close-mindedness probably would make me want to shout at him. I guess it’s thought-provoking but I’m not sure what it’ll prove.. probably what I already knew before :-). Thanks for your thoughtful review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tricky and very daring, to be honest. I have a hard time imagining people voluntarily picking this up for the story. It’s such a provocative read that people who are fan of the author or who just prefer this type of fiction will surely rejoice. It’ll definitely show you that life is more than just reason and science. Sometimes even the extraordinary is possible. 😁 Thank you for reading, Inge! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Totally understand. I have a hard time imagining myself recommending it when I feel like there are “softer” ways to deliver the same message, but it’s still a story worth checking out for its ability to provoke while offering some humour! Glad to hear this intrigued you. I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on it if you ever pick it up! 😁


  2. Whoa! I had no idea this is what the book was about. It’s on my shelf currently, and I see Ferguson around town quite a bit (he’s a Calgarian) so I’m surprised something like this has come from his pen! Mind you, I hated 419 because it was such a departure from his other writings, but we all know how that one went LOL

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh man, I can’t even comfort you about this one… Hopefully you’ll be able to go through it without being overwhelmed by the main character’s personality. I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on it once you get around to it though.

      Funny thing is.. the book is supposed to be set in Montreal (my home town), but then he switched it up to fit Boston’s landscape. Interesting that he’s more local to Calgary though. But wow, I’m surprised you’re able to recognize him in a crowd though!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Haha I had to giggle at Bookstooge’s comment and admit I feel the same. I do not think this sounds like a bad book at all. Your review leads me to believe some aspects are very well executed in fact. And I am sure it takes just as much talent to create a disliked character, but man is that a struggle for me. If I cannot find some semblance of a connection, lost cause. Wonderful review as always Lashaan!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaah it’s why I’d have loved to get his thoughts on this, but I fear he might have just DNFed it instead! Yep. Definitely some good stuff in there, but man was there nothing for me throughout the story to make me more accepting of this protagonist. Thank you so much for reading, Danielle. I appreciate the time you took to do so!! 🙂

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  4. See just from how you described him I kind of hated Thomas Rosanoff’s character. I certainly got arrogant and self-centered from him just from reading your review, let alone reading the book. I think it must have been difficult for Will Ferguson to write a character you can still understand without needing to connect with him, but it sounds like he did it really well in this book. 🙂
    I’m glad you enjoyed The Shoe on the Roof Lashaan, and great review as well. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaahh I just had to talk about him the most in this review. He plays a big part in how the story is told, and well… anyone who picks up this book should be ready to fight through it alongside such a hard-to-love character! 😛 Thank you so much, Beth!!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. To be perfectly honest, this sounds like a great book… not only because the MC is one of those love to hate pieces, but because of the religion v science bit… I love the sound of this… I wonder if I’d enjoy the experiment side of it or would it annoy me? ha… Adding to my tbr pile! Great review 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my! I’m intrigued by your interest in this hahahah There are definitely some great ideas being tackled in a unusual way, especially with the whole experiment angle, but they have their merits and uses. I’d be honestly curious to hear your thoughts on it. This is one book that would probably be appreciated sooo differently from one person to another, depending on how they’re able to manage their tolerance of the main character and how the author tells the story hahah Thank you so much for reading Liz!! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I too agree with Bookstooge… It sounds miserable! I actually do not enjoy unlikable characters too much anyway… and you said 3 messiahs and I’m like NO THANK YOU! Sometimes you impress me as a saint that you could even finish this book Lashaan! 🙂 More power to those commenters who are intrigued!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha he makes a valid point though! Something that a lot of people would feel like upon encountering such a character. 😛 Yeh… I sometimes impress myself by going through some of these books… Could’ve easily been dropped at the 50% mark or so. I guess I just prefer knowing the whole truth before commenting about it! 😀


  7. Have you read 419? My friend gave it too me for christmas a few years ago, and I haven’t read it. I honestly hadn’t really heard anything about it, this had renewed my interest though, since I have that on on my shelf right now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t actually hahah I did see it around back in the day and never really thought of trying it out until I finished reading this one, The Shoe on the Roof. I’m really curious by this author’s writing style and just all the ideas he loves to discuss throughout his stories. 419 did get some nice praise by readers and critics, but I too haven’t seen it much around the blogosphere. Maybe when you read and review it, I’ll be pushed to getting my hands on a copy myself. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I actually liked this book, although I agree that Thomas was super annoying, and very unethical. I found it very ‘readable’ overall, despite how awful some of the people were in it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He was quite the character, but there’s definitely something to take away from all of it. I’m glad to hear that you did end up enjoying it in the end though! And you’re also the first person I know of that has read it since my review hahah 😛

      Liked by 1 person

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