In this sparkling collection of stories drawn from the surreal edge of life, playful irony vies with more poignant evocations of solitude, mortality, and the dawn of sexual awareness – all bodied forth in a language that is precise, elegant, and immediate. Storytellers are liars, but as Picasso said, “art is the lie that tells the truth,” and deceit is a motif here: lies of omission or commission, in words or in deeds, to gain love or repel it, and beyond, to what our lies tell of the rift between body and soul, dream and fulfillment: the essential, often comical ambiguity of human existence. What do we really want? What do we need? And what happens if – or when – we gain the objects of our desires? From the strange erotics of household appliances and grocery shopping, anguish of an unexpected haircut, curious negotiations with sex – including the mystically transformative power of a bikini – to the shock of a child’s first encounter with death, perverse seductions of imagination, tranced midnight zones of travel, and the dark revenge of a life unlived, this collection explores the borderland between inner and outer realities, creating a sharply etched portrait of fraught consciousness struggling for balance between the pains and sudden pleasures of being alive.
Ray Smith’s collection “is a postmodern collage that neatly puts the boots to the kind of earnest Canadian nationalism running rampant in this country at the time.”—Steven Beattie