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Yes! A title that delivers. Hard, gritty writing. Gritty, hard stories. The first story is called “Sheila Crawford Sucks Cocks”. Grabs your attention, shocks, sounds dirty and juvenile. Reading on, it’s a story (most definitely about Sheila Crawford and her cocksucking ways, but also) about being thirteen. About being a horny boy, about being frustrated and confused by girls who put out for others, about masturbation and fantasy. It’s adolescence, it’s life. There are stories here that are dirty, depraved and maybe a little gross. Others that are kind of erotic, but mostly stark and mechanical–hey, kinda like porn! Others sad or funny (one rather sweet even).

Despicable characters and their actions that can have redeeming qualities or be completely hateful. I love the setting of Steel Town, the Hammer–good ol’ Hamilton. It provides a convincing backdrop to these often working-class and/or down-and-out stories. “Job Action”, about working on a garbage truck, is both fun adventure and cringeworthy. In a collection of stories that share a similar style of writing and a similar theme, why would you put in one that doesn’t fit? “Begotten, Not Made” seems pointless and out of place–a first person narrative from a crazy/drunk/ born again. Sounds appropriate but doesn’t fit. Very, very enjoyable reading. No pretension, no bullshit. Ya get what ya get: dirty words, suburban ‘porn’ (that successfully avoids clichés and Penthouse Forum style writing) and irony/insight/whatever the hell you may want to take away. I feel like I should add expletives to my review: fucking good stuff! There. (Mitch Adams)

by Matthew Firth, $18, 208 pgs, Anvil Press, 278 East First Ave., Vancouver, B.C., V5T 1A6, anvilpress.com

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