This month's reading recommendations come from Caroline Adderson.
Caroline Adderson is the author of two internationally published novels (A History of Forgetting, Sitting Practice), two collections of short stories (Bad Imaginings, Pleased To Meet You), three books for young readers (Very Serious Children, I, Bruno, Bruno For Real) and a teen novella (Film Studies). Her work has received numerous prize nominations including the Scotiabank Giller Prize longlist, the Governor General’s Literary Award, the Rogers’ Trust Fiction Prize, and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. A two-time Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize and three-time CBC Literary Award winner, Caroline was also the recipient of the 2006 Marian Engel Award for mid-career achievement. Her third novel, The Sky is Falling, has just been published. Visit carolineadderson.com for more information.
Götz and Meyer
David Albahari has lived in Calgary since 1994 so although he writes in his native Serbian, we can claim him as our own. It would be our great honour, believe me, as Götz and Meyer is a most original, blackly funny, heartbreaking novel. And it's told in a single paragraph. The narrator, a Serbian Jew, is researching the fate of his extended family who perished, as did most of Serbia's Jewish population, in the mobile gas chambers. As he has no information beyond the names of two drivers, he finds himself imagining the shockingly banal lives of these chauffeurs of death. “Tears are the most ordinary of secretions, Götz, or Meyer, said, while driving to Belgrade.” Read it and weep.
Last year I reread this tragi-comic classic from a former mentor. It made me wish that I knew then, twenty years ago when I first started writing, what I know now, so I could have fallen at Wiseman's feet instead of merely asked her to sign the book. Hoda is a most un-Canadian protagonist, an obese, loud-mouthed, unrepentant prostitute. Through her and a large cast of brilliantly rendered secondary characters the history of that most Canadian of cities, Winnipeg, Manitoba, comes alive. Rollicking and tender, with one of the funniest proposal scenes in all of literature, Crackpot deserves a new generation of readers.
Speaking of generations, Rosenblum is a new voice, a writer just over thirty years old, destined to take up where our current mavens of short fiction leave off. How refreshing to read about young people who aren't entirely messed up, but funny and perceptive and deeply human. Once gives the middle-aged hope, as does Rosenblum's clean, singing prose. Don't believe what they say about illiterate youth, or about youth being wasted on the young. Rebecca Rosenblum has squeezed every bit of life out of her thirty-two years and put them in these delightful stories.