Use Your Imagination! by Kris Bertin

Halifax-based writer Kris Bertin has won many awards for his previous short story collection, Bad Things Happen (2016, Biblioasis) and I'm sure that Use Your Imagination! (2019, Vagrant Press*) will garner its share. Composed of seven stories spread over 200 pages, these are the type of short stories you can really get into.

You and Me, Belonging by Aaron Kreuter

Toronto’s Tightrope Books continue to publish good short story collections by a very gifted group of authors. Most recently, it was Tread and Other Stories by Barry Dempster and The Colours of Birds by Rebecca Higgins. (Their reviews are here.) They were definite examples of sound literary short stories, and you may add Mr. Kreuter’s You and Me, Belonging to the list. In a little over 200 pages, there are only seven stories, so these are “long” short stories; as such, all are quite complete in themselves.… Continue reading

Two New Short Story Collections from Tightrope Books

One thing is definite about Toronto’s Tightrope Books: they know a good short story when they see one. In 2016, they published Danila Botha’s excellent collection of short stories For All of the Men (and Some of the Women) I’ve Known which met with great success. Now I have just finished reading two more fine collections, Barry Dempster’s Tread & Other Stories and Rebecca Higgins’ The Colours of Birds.… Continue reading

The Ambassador of What by Adrian Michael Kelly

As with any university town, Kingston, Ontario has its fair share of writers that call the Limestone City home: Diane Schoemperlen, Merilyn Simonds, Steven Heighton and many more. Add Adrian Michael Kelly to the list. His newest book, The Ambassador of What (2018, ECW Press) is a collection of stories, some previously published, but many appearing in print for the first time. Primarily about a father and son relationship, The Ambassador of What is full of raw emotion at moments (“Stragglers”, “It Does Not Control You”) and at other times, Mr.… Continue reading

In Every Wave by Charles Quimper, Translated by Guil Lefebvre

Over the few short years of its existence as an imprint of Baraka Books, QC Fiction has now produced nine titles, with a tenth one in the works. Looking back over this diverse catalogue, it would be easy to compare them to snowflakes (no two are alike) or the proverbial sampler box of chocolates. However, I have come to think of QC Fiction as a major league baseball pitcher who has a number of different pitches in his repertoire.… Continue reading

Vic City Express by Yannis Tsirbas

Vic City Express is a fierce little book; tiny in size, but large in reach and impact. It will polarize readers with the message shouted out by one of the protagonists advocating the elimination of immigration, with not-so-subtle hints at the eradication of unwanted peoples. It takes place on a passenger train ride to Athens where an unfortunate man we’ll call the “reluctant listener” is seated across from a fellow Greek who has no trouble spewing virulent stories about his life growing up in Athens, his involvement in youth crimes, taking police beatings, how Greeks are outnumbered by non-Greeks in his building in Vic City (an area of Athens centered on the Victoria metro station) and so on.… Continue reading

The Pink House and Other Stories by Licia Canton

I enjoy reading short story collections, particularly when there are connections between the stories, for instance, reoccurring characters. Such is the case in Licia Canton’s The Pink House and Other Stories (2018, Longbridge Books), her second collection of short fiction.

The two main characters throughout the majority of the stories are Rita, an Italian-Canadian, and an unnamed woman who gets struck by a car outside the Bell Centre in Montreal.… Continue reading