by Russell Smith
Doubleday Canada, 1999.
Reviewed by Michael Bryson
Russell Smith expands the emotional range of his fiction
with his latest effort, a collection of short fiction revolving around
the mores and anxieties of his favourite subject, young men.
has matured, but it remains on occasion flat and his satire has been moderated
by (yuk) guilt (which more than one of his characters admits to feeling
after expressing sentiments contextually inappropriate).
The most successful
story in the collection, "The Stockholm Syndrome," hints at a turning
point in Smith's career, as he shows himself able to integrate his subtle
social criticisms of Toronto's glitterati and the down home wisdom of
his Nova Scotian youth.
These are Smith's two solitudes (and the oft ignored
solitudes of Canlit, which are urban/rural, not English/French). Let's
hope he returns to them.