Monday, August 09, 2010

Forever Young

Another good review of Terence Young's latest collection of short fiction, The End of the Ice Age, this one from Montreal's The Rover.

Contrary to the codes of cliché, there’s more to men at midlife than Ferraris and pharmaceuticals. In his fifth book, the excellent short story collection The End of the Ice Age, Terence Young trains his sharp eye on the tricky state of being between young and old. His meaningful stories catalogue an array of possible experiences that reach beyond the platitudes so heavily relied upon by lazy advertisers, and reveal more nuance than can be expressed in 30 seconds.

Not every man has a so-called crisis, not every man acts out upon reaching a certain age. Some don’t even notice they are aging at all. In the book’s title story, an unnamed he is informed by his lover, an unnamed she, “Your problem is you still don’t think you’re old.” Indeed, he observes, he does feel like he’s younger than everyone else, even those who are officially younger, but he’s perplexed as to why he should consider it a problem. With this character who feels immune to getting older, as if he alone is capable of resisting the march of time, Young alludes to our tendency to feel self-important. He shows, however, that the clock is undeniably ticking, unstoppable, literally and figuratively. The lover is too absorbed in her compulsive reading to ever check the time. Instead, she repeatedly asks Mr. Ageless to check for her. Even if he doesn’t get the message, the reader does. And with a deft switch to the present tense for the last sentence of the story, Young reminds us time stops for no one, not even his own characters.

For the rest of the review please go here.

No comments: