Critical Praise

Weekend Pass

Weekend Pass packs a lot into fewer than two hundred pages. The dialogue never stutters. The writing is tight and clean and elegant with hidden depths that give pause for reflection and thought. It covers important, difficult themes in a compassionate, humanist way. It was an absolute pleasure to read.” Recommended

– Jill Murphy, The

After Helen

Cavanagh writes “with incisive observational skill and a plain-spoken, moderate tone. The result is an emotional depth that is often shocking in its intensity, fidelity and resonance…. I’m not the first one to say it, but here it is: After Helen is a winner.”

– Robert Wiersema, The Globe & Mail

“Paul Cavanagh reads like a North of 49 Anne Tyler: by turns funny and moving, his new novel explores the ambiguity of modern relationships, and points toward reconciliation with facts we cannot change.”

– Antanas Sileika, Author of Underground

“Helen is a complex and powerful character in a novel full of them, but she is by herself worth the price of admission.”

– David Worsley, The Waterloo Region Record

“An absorbing and deeply touching debut, After Helen is a whirlwind of a novel that, once started, is incredibly difficult to put down.”

– Alison Potter, Irish Examiner

“…a nuanced exploration of what it means to mourn those we love most, all their flaws considered. After Helen is an emotionally intelligent, surprising novel that more than earns its stripes.” (5 stars)

– Michelle Anne Schingler, Foreword Reviews

“…enticing and exciting… a witty book with powerfully moving moments throughout… Overall, a teasingly, addictive novel…”

– Katy Hepburn, We Love This Book

“Everything is beautifully fleshed-out, from the supporting cast of characters, through the Canadian landscape, to the parallels with a doomed Victorian expedition to find the Northwest Passage. And the detail is superlative. I can see why Cavanagh won a Lit Idol competition, because it’s difficult to criticise anything in this story: prose, structure, plot development, consistent characterisation, background, continuity of theme. This is a well-written novel.” (Recommended)

– Jill Murphy, The Bookbag

My Novels

After Helen

A history teacher struggles to resolve his feelings towards his larger-than-life late wife, Helen, in order to salvage his relationship with their daughter.

Missing Steps

An absent-minded man rushes home to the sickbed of his estranged mother, dogged by the legacy of a father who died in his 50s of dementia.

Weekend Pass

After accidentally poisoning her eight-year old son, a nurse tries to pick up the pieces of her life during her first weekend home from drug treatment.