Friday, August 24, 2012

Staff Pick - The Cloaca, by Andrew Hood

Working through my list of 5 books I want to read this summer, I read Andrew Hood's new collection of short stories, The Cloaca (M). I had mentioned in an earlier post that I had expected something edgy and experimental. Well I got that in spades! In a very good way.

The stories are all quite intriguing and quirky, with characters that ring really true. I swear that a couple of them live in my neighbourhood? Hood has a great ear for language and those little sayings and mannerisms that can define a person. The stories are full of humour and characters that, despite their many dysfunctions, are sympathetic. I really felt for Fickle Frances, a 30 something woman who follows a ten year old boy around town and Danny, an erstwhile rock drummer who runs around naked screaming at teenagers.

Hood's writing is so creative that I find it hard to describe it. After finishing a couple of the stories, I was left with a "What the heck was that?" feeling, demanding that I go back and re-read it. Perhaps the blurb found on the Invisible Publishing website describes it best:

The stories included in Andrew Hood’s sophomore collection are beautiful, gross, funny, and personal. The Cloaca is a train wreck of awesomeness. It’s your high school gym coach, drunk and dishing dirt on all the other teachers on the crosstown bus—a stomach-turning spectacle that’ll make you laugh out loud now, feel bad later. You won’t be able to look away for an instant.

I suggest that you "hit this book like it hit you first." Highly recommended.

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