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Art Corriveau’s Blood Pudding celebrates the lives of secrets and private relics that quietly permeate and threaten the tenuous fragility of relationships. This collection of 13 short stories explores the friendships of weary travelers, of co-workers and neighbours, of families and lovers, whose lives however small and seemingly insular, are riddled with desperation and optimism. Marking the tension between worlds, Corriveau laces his stories with the tantalizing potential of collision. Employing rich sensory descriptions, Corriveau successfully focuses the gaze of the reader onto otherwise hazy and distant landscapes rendering them familiar and knowable. From quaint farm to diverse yet anonymous metropolis, from bedroom loft made sanctuary through Corriveau’s delightful depiction of the scope of human interaction, to the pungent arena of an Amsterdam bath house. Through pairings of priest and artist, magician and prostitute, blind woman and deformed man, friends bound through grief, through loneliness, through opportunities taken and lost. Told through the clandestine perspectives of a surprisingly linked world community, Blood Pudding is a subtle study in mortality. Each story, short by medium, pervasively lingers after its close, as we are jolted out of one acutely construed moment of revelation and idiosyncrasy into another, whose characters we listen to, reluctantly at first, amidst the pangs of the previous story in our recent consciousness. In compensation, Corriveau peppers this collection with the recurrence of his characters at varied intersections in their lives and we indeed warm to the evolving vignettes which constitute a lasting mosaic of interconnected slices of life.

Maintaining and continuously reveling in the tension between perceived truths and the mystery of inner lives, these tales of modern life enshrine both the impermanence of human experience and its Omni importance. (Cailin Bator)

by Art Corriveau, $17.95, 155 pgs, Esplanade Books, Véhicule Press, P.O.B. 125, Place du Parc Station Montreal, QC H2X 4A3

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