Ian Brown spins heartache into a dazzling tour de force

That’s what they call a tour de force.

Wise, witty, modulated, informative, entertaining: take your pick.

Or, no, put it this way: as a speaker, Ian Brown is in the same league as Stephen Lewis.

We’re talking eloquence. Yes, I mean dazzling.

Brown kicked off a lecture series called Journalism in the Public Square at the University of King’s College. He talked Friday night about his “broken boy,” Walker, the subject of his award-winning book The Boy in the Moon.

Imagine trying to be funny while evoking the heartbreak of raising a severely disabled child. Brown managed that miracle.

He was modest and self-deprecating, and he laced his hour-long talk with brilliant one-liners. He talked about how tears ran down his cheeks while he wrote the book: “I’m not a crier,” he insisted. “I’m a journalist. I barely have a soul.”

He talked about how his son had helped him to evolve ethically: “And I’m from Toronto. We have no values at all.” He explained that, thanks to advances in medical technology, his son was “a new genre of human being.” He took a beat, then added: “I loathe certainty, and that I say with certainty.”

Maybe you had to be there. But for the 200 or so people who crowded into a standing-room only theatre, Brown created an event they won’t forget.

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