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The one thing that can be said about Toronto-based writer Jeff Parker is he doesn’t waste time in plot and conflict, his characters are fully equipped with self-loathing, obsession and anger, enough so you immediately feel their pain and outrage, no matter the situation. In the title story, we see a man’s self-obsession take a back seat to a greater truth, that of acceptance in the world around him. His masturbation noises become a vanity that brings him closer to a red head in his building who is convinced he’s a real creep. He has cuticle problems and dips his fingernails in hot sauce to stop from chewing them. It’s all a very strange caldron of maudlin supper, a delicious and eventful collection I highly recommend as panacea for the cafe/cliché killed fiction that exists in the realms of CanLit where nothing happens but a bunch of navel gazing. These are stories that investigate but also invest in the reader, and for that, Parker must be credited. (Jack Cena)

by Jeff Parker, $12, 139 pgs, Snare Books, 4832A Parc Ave., Montreal, QC, H2V 4E6


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