A reSet original. Vital Signs brings together the collected novellas by John Metcalf, a modern master of the form, a writer who Alice Munro has said “often comes as close to the baffling comedy of human experience as a writer can get.”
Ranging from early words like “The Lady Who Sold Furniture,” about an amoral housekeeper who fences the furniture of her employers, to “Forde Abroad,” a mature piece that follows Metcalf’s alter-ego, writer Robert Forde, as he stumbles through the Iron Curtain to attend a meeting of the Literary and Cultural Association of Slovenia, the novellas serve as the perfect introduction to Metcalf’s acclaimed literary style—and as a companion piece to The Museum at the End of the World, his first full-length collection of fiction in three decades.
Elegant, wry, compassionate, and mischievous, with echoes of Kingsley Amis, Evelyn Waugh, and Muriel Spark, Vital Signs taps the funny bone, pierces the heart, and demonstrates why Metcalf has long been considered among the greatest—and most contentious—figures in Canadian literature.
Praise for John Metcalf
“His talent is generous, hectoring, huge, and remarkable.”—The Washington Post
“John Metcalf has written some of the very best stories ever published in this country.”—Alice Munro
“In the past few decades, Canada has won a reputation as a prolific producer of high-quality short stories. Alice Munro, Mavis Gallant and John Metcalf are among those who have proven themselves masters of the difficult form.”—Maclean’s
“A master stylist confidently at work in his favoured form.”—The Oxford Companion to Canadian Literature: Second Edition
“… show-stopping prose.”—Caroline Adderson
“Hilarious, touching and delightful … brilliant concision and understated humor.”—Los Angeles Times