A suspenseful and interwoven collection of 16 short stories comprises Tim Blackett’s stunning debut work entitled Grandview Drive. Several characters are one or two degrees of separation from a tragic soul named Earl whose existence and non-existence are highlighted in a few of the stories. Grandview Drive’s self-titled first story introduces us to Earl’s fantasies contrived to dull the anguish of his loneliness. We soon witness this recurring theme haunting more characters just as unfulfilled, despite appearances otherwise. Abandonment is explored in many forms: when childhood friends move away without warning, the diminishing returns of a one-sided relationship, intimate affairs, and of course, death.
Blackett spares little detail when it comes to the reality of violent deaths. In “The Ones Really Looking”, the horror of an expiring marriage is tastefully shared in a brilliant manner reminiscent of Shirley Jackson. We never quite see the ending unfolding as it does, which is always a delight in good storytelling. The emotions conveyed by the soul whose life is about to be taken versus the hand dealing the final earthly measure are unveiled with great care. One’s final thoughts in the haze of tragic circumstances is an overarching shadow throughout this collection. It’s the poignancy of simultaneous longing and regret that remains.
A memorable thread of complex and interesting through-line development is introduced with the Delany And Abigail Waters characters. Their relationship with each other and with friends also echoes dysfunction and subtle discord. Why does Delany behave in a detached manner? Is she truly generous in her friendships, or is there insecurity and resignation in her intentions? What is it about Earl’s demise that sets another tragic wheel of discontent in motion? The exposition is sometimes left as a mystery until the very end of a character’s arc. And much like completing a jigsaw puzzle, it is quite satisfying to piece it all together.
“…To feel the light of the sun burning up your liver as it searches your insides and pulls out your secrets” succinctly delivers the hook one needs to keep turning the pages, invested in the outcomes of each woeful being. Blackett’s writing is a refreshing and brilliant addition to the short story suspense and horror genre; this is certainly an author to watch for with anticipation. Grandview Drive is the perfect book to wrap one’s mind around on a moody, pensive evening.
About the Author
Tim Blackett is a Canadian writer whose work has appeared in Briarpatch, [spaces], Grain Magazine and a small Saskatchewan journal called Swift, Flowing. He holds a Bachelor of Theology and a BA in English from the University of Regina, as well as a certificate in creative writing from Humber College. His forthcoming short story collection, Grandview Drive, placed second in the John V. Hicks Long Manuscript Award (2019), and the titular story was longlisted for the Carter v. Cooper Short Fiction Award (2012). Blackett lives in Regina, SK.
- Publisher : Nightwood Editions (Nov. 18 2023)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 224 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0889714649
- ISBN-13 : 978-0889714649