The Shoe on the Roof

The Shoe on the Roof

Meet Thomas Rosanoff: med student and researcher.
Meet his subjects: three homeless men who believe they are God.

Ever since his girlfriend ended things, Thomas’s life has been on a downward spiral. A gifted medical student, he has spent his entire adulthood struggling to escape the legacy of his father, an esteemed psychiatrist who used him as a test subject when he was a boy. Thomas lived his entire childhood watched over by researchers lurking behind one-way glass.

But now the tables have turned. Thomas is the researcher, and he’s convinced an experiment he has concocted will cure three homeless men of their delusional claims. When the experiment careens out of control, however, Thomas is forced to confront the voices echoing in his own head and the ghosts of his own past.

An explosively imaginative tour de force, The Shoe on the Roof questions our definitions of sanity and madness while exploring the magical reality that lies just beyond the world of scientific fact.
  • Simon & Schuster | 
  • 384 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781501173585 | 
  • April 2018
List Price $19.99 (price may vary by retailer)

Read an Excerpt

Hear an Excerpt


To download a file to your computer right-click on the link and choose 'save file as'

High Resolution Images

Any use of an author photo must include its respective photo credit

Reading Group Guide

The Shoe on the Roof
Will Ferguson
Reading Group Guide

Topics & Questions for Book Clubs

1. Sister Frances tells Thomas that “Science can only take us so far. . . . There will always be something just out of reach. Something elusive. We might as well call it God.” What does The Shoe on the Roof ultimately say about the tension between science and faith?

2. After Thomas and Amy break up, Thomas complains that love serves no evolutionary purpose, but merely produces “temporary madness, when all is said and done.” How are the ideas of love and madness intertwined in The Shoe on the Roof?

3. How does Thomas’s childhood as “the Boy in the Box” shape him? Does it change how he relates to others?

4. What role does Sister Francis play in Thomas’s life? What influence, if any, does she have on Thomas?

5. Religion plays an important role throughout the novel. How does religion shape the lives of each of the characters? Is it for better or for worse?

6. Not wanting to live under the shadow of his father, Thomas adopts his mother’s surname, and in doing so, alters his identity. How does the importance of names affect Thomas and other characters throughout the novel?

7. Thomas is simultaneously drawn to and infuriated by Eli, Sebastian, and the Magician. Discuss why there is a push and pull between Thomas and his test subjects.

8. Tho see more

More Books from this Author

The Look Book offers a sample of groundbreaking and exciting new books on the Fall 2017 Simon & Schuster Canada list.

Dip into the latest masterwork from the winner of Canada’s top fiction prize. Hear stories from Canada’s courageous veterans. Consider the future of our country with an investigation into the oil sands and a look at the risks Canadians face in the wake of Brexit and Donald Trump. And because it’s not Fall in Canada without talking hockey, curl up with a book...

About the Author

Will Ferguson
Photograph by Genki Alex Ferguson

Will Ferguson

Will Ferguson is the author of four novels, including 419, which won the Scotiabank Giller Prize. A three-time winner of the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour, he has been nominated for both a Commonwealth Prize and an IMPAC Dublin Award. The Shoe on the Roof is his most recent novel. Will Ferguson lives in Calgary. Visit him at