We don’t get paid for doing these reviews, but we get free books. It is books like Joey Comeau’s It’s Too Late to Say I’m Sorry that make it oh-so worthwhile. I loved this collection of short stories. I laughed out loud and I winced and cringed. There are stories here that are horrific (“The Birthday Girl” and “One Foot Underwater” are almost pure horror), erotic, fantastic, creepy, inventive, sublime–and stories with elements of all this.
Comeau writes with a clever subtlety. He understands the importance of not spelling it all out for the reader. We remain curious and perhaps questioning at the end of each story and yet somehow content. I’m impressed by the ideas and variety here–it’s a little reminiscent of Jonathon Lethem’s short stories. In “The Machine”, a machine can record history. A priest and a scientist explore miracles for authenticity but each has their own hidden project (a great blend of sci-fi, human nature, God, perversion and more). In “Historians and Degenerates” journals are illegal, but if found, they can be broadcast on TV–even if they’re sexual. In “Where are you off to now?”, the main character cons his way into a job as a bike tour guide and then creates his own route by taking them to all of his ex-girlfriends’ houses. He uses a megaphone to describe what went wrong and his friend videotapes the results–a hilarious story. This collection is solid. Even the author bio! (Mitch Adams)
Fiction, 158 pgs, by Joey Comeau, $12.95, Loose Teeth Press, PO Box 2778, Station Main, Vancouver, BC, V6B , 3X2, looseteeth.ca