Monday, October 04, 2010

This and That

Largely a weekend off around the Bibliomanse, the first since Labour Day, so a quick list of odds and ends about our books, brought to you by the wide and wonderful internet.

Over at Pickle Me This, Kerry Clare calls Alexander MacLeod's Light Lifting one of the two best books she has read all year:

Alexander MacLeod’s short story collection Light Lifting never wavers, one solid story after another, and the effect is devastating, gripping, overwhelming. I could hardly believe that the book was this good, and so when I discovered that a friend was reading it at the same time that I was, I got in touch right right away for confirmation. Her take: “This guy is the real thing.”

Short stories whose absolutely evoked universes reminded me of Alice Munro in their expansiveness, whose subtly horrifying endings were a bit Flannery O’Connor. Stories so engaged with the stuff of this world, the living and the doing– laying brick driveways, changing an explosive diaper in a disgusting truck stop bathroom, learning to swim, cycling in the snow, crossing the finish line in a track competition, searching for lice, outrunning a train. So vivid that it’s hard to believe it’s fiction, which is why I had trouble remaining composed at the end of the story “Light Lifting”.

For the rest please go here.

Kevin from Canada, a blogger who is part of the Giller shadow jury blog project, includes his choices for the Giller shortlist, including Alexander MacLeod's Light Lifting. He also hands off a copy of Light Lifting to Alison Gzowski, who is "very impressed."

I finished Light Lifting last night. I was very impressed. This is a debut collection of short stories (some have been published earlier in literary journals) and it’s everything you don’t expect from debut collections: assured, traditional, consistently well-written and varied.
For the rest of her write-up, and a further plug from "Kevin from Canada," please go here.

Mary Jo Anderson, who reviewed Light Lifting last weekend in the Chronicle Herald, has published her full review of the book -- The Herald cut her review in its pages considerably -- over at Thresholds, the Home of the International Post-Graduate Short Story Forum. It can be found here.

A.J. Somerset continued with his Guest Blogging at the National Post's Afterword, which I linked to here a couple of times last week, with a couple of additional posts and a week-ending interview with Mark Medley. You can find two other posts, Tourist Trap and Only Fiction Can Save Us by clicking on their respective links.

Here's an excerpt from the interview:

Q: Can you tell us what the novel is about, in exactly six words?

Yesterday’s man, nobody’s daughter. Redemption unlikely.

Q: Okay, you can use more words now.

Well, that’s a relief. If I could do it in six, I wouldn’t have needed 80,000.

Lucas Zane, formerly a celebrated combat photographer, burnt out and washed up, has come to rest in Toronto where he pays the bills by shooting low-rent pornography. He hatches a plan to salvage his career by shooting a documentary project on a porn performer named Melissa, who hopes to make a fresh start. They each struggle towards a redemption that seems continually out of reach.

The youth audience will be pleased to learn that there are several references to vampires, although I hasten to add that none is sparkly.

You can find the full thing here.

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