by Naomi K Lewis
As a boy, Timmy (Sir Timothy Brian F. the Fantabulous) tells tall, tragic tales to get attention from the adults in his life - particular his busy mother and Dr. Bass, his nerdy-cool neighbour. As a young man, his escalating lies destroy his relationships, alienate his loved ones, and land him in hot water with police; but that doesn’t stop him from crying wolf again and again.
WHO KNOWS WHO I was before the autumn I turned eight. Timmy to my mom, Timbelina to the lunchroom villain squad, Sir Timothy Brian F. the Fantabulous to future biographers. Then came my birthday, Mommy’s cake all sky blue with white marshmallow clouds and Superman flying fist forward, a week or two before the trees in our neighbourhood started to shed yellow and red leaves. And then came the Saturday I smashed down onto a raked-up pile of them and straight to observation.
I’d heated my forehead against the radiator that morning and clung to the bedframe claiming smallpox, but my mother said, get out get out, I have eight hundred canapés to make. So I dodged around knife-wielding Mommy in the kitchen and donned my red boots and redder cape, which billowed behind me as I skidded down into the gulley behind our cul-de-sac fast as fast though Maryland tick season was long over. Across the stream at the bottom in a single bound and I heaved myself up the other side, knees up, knees up, slipping on the rotting leaves and drying grass. Music was playing, but not the kind I wanted to hear.
“Swing low, sweet chariot ...”
My back-to-back neighbour, Kate Katie Kate Kate a.k.a. Katherine-Ann—yes, Bass, the one and only—bounced on the Batman-blue trampoline in her back yard, singing along with a record playing through the open back-porch door. “Coming for to carry me home ...” I liked it when she went up and her hair went tight like a plastic bowl on her head. Down and the hair rose into hedgehog bristles, her plaid shirt bloating out to show her belly button above black stretchy pants. The pants fastened round the bottoms of her pink-socked feet.
“Don’t go in,” she said as I marched up the porch’s steps. “Dad’s waxing Mommy’s bikini area.” I checked, my face up against the screen door. Dark shapes moved inside.
“And,” said Dr. Bass. “Aaand—”
Dr. Bass’s wife said a word we don’t say, one fast bad syllable.
about the author
from the library
by Andrew Forbes
An electrical engineer who has lost almost everything - his marriage, his job, his father - retreats to his garage to re-evaluate and reorganize the various loose ends of his life, and ends up assembling a thermonuclear device instead.
by Curtis Snider
A woman wakes up in bed beside her ex-boyfriend and is at loss to explain how she got there. Inexplicably drawn to stay, she scours every square inch of the apartment they used to share, noting the traces of her presence that linger on, as well as the empty spots that conspicuously mark her absence. The deeper she digs, the more she understands how imperfect her relationship was – and the less willing she is to come up for air.
At the Bar
by Rebecca Rosenblum
Health care workers on a night out unwind, allowing the anxieties and passions they've had to suppress on the job finally uncoil, like tendrils creeping out into the world - and into each other. Written with empathy and panache, this story is a portrait of briefly flaring humanity - of people granted a temporary reprieve from professionalism, and not quite knowing what to do with it.
“At the Bar is Rosenblum at her best - exploring the complicated nature of work and relationships with her trademark perceptiveness, humour, and compassion, and creating characters that will stay with you long after the story is over.”
— Amy Jones, author of What Boys Like and Other Stories
Off the Main Highway
by Courtney McDermott
At the Chickasaw Motel, three generations of the McGuinness clan are led by their elderly and overbearing patriarch. Only little Riley, “the smartest f-ing kid”, is spared the brunt of Grandpa McGuinness’s cruelty; ironically, it is his encouragement that provides her with a way out.
In the Afternoon
by Laure Baudot
Catherine wants what Richard has: a richly decorated house, and a perfect, lavished-upon baby. Catherine also wants Richard: a disaffected diplomat whose true passion is for cinema. But Catherine is only the babysitter, and her envy—and its fallout—come to the fore when Richard is accused of a crime, and she must decide whether to help exonerate him.
“Laure Baudot’s prose is exquisite, patient, and sophisticated. In the Afternoon immerses you in the fascinating and complicated mind of a babysitter who is wise beyond her years, yet dangerously impulsive at the same time. This story is irresistible and heartbreaking.”
— Sarah Selecky, author of the 2010 Giller Prize–shortlisted collection This Cake Is for the Party
of My Sound
by Andrew Forbes
Saxophonist Metche Hufu and his band are the talk of Addis Ababa, filling nightclubs and packing dance floors. But the precarious existence of this golden age of culture depends on an emperor’s benevolence - and when his power begins to wane, Metche Hufu's music threatens to be silenced by the sounds of a country torn apart.
“How do you give voice to a sax player silenced by the politics of his country? If you’re a jazz singer like Kurt Elling, you take Dexter Gordon’s solo on ‘Body and Soul’ from his Homecoming album and you turn it into vocalese. If your name is Andrew Forbes and your tenor sax player is Ethiopian and it is Addis Ababa 1973 and his musical idol is King Curtis, you write The Expansiveness of My Sound and what you write is wider, more straight-ahead, stronger with political fervour, sadder than Elling but every bit as smart. Forbes is doing it solo and you have to imagine the quartet behind him. Read it with your fingers tapping and you’ll catch the beat. Read it with your ears open and you’ll hear Metche Hufu’s body and soul. Dig it!”
— T. F. Rigelhof, author of Hooked on Canadian Books: The Good, the Better, and the Best Canadian Novels Since 1984
by Nancy Branch
In the rugged Nepisiguit River region of northern New Brunswick, two hunters face off. One is local sports lodge employee Danny Knockwood, a Mi’gmaw guide with a withered hand. The other is Mui’n, a one-eared black bear battling his inexorable hunger. When Danny is charged by the lodge owner to hunt down the bear that is frightening guests at the salmon pools, his personal values come into sharp conflict with his commitment to the task. The resulting confrontation tests both his physical strength and his beliefs, as Danny begins to recognize a kindred spirit within the fiercely determined bear.