Sunday Drive to Gun Club Road
Marion Quednau, 208 pgs, Nightwood Editions, nightwoodeditions.com, $21.95
MarionQuednau’s stories make you feel a part of an inside joke. Balanced and meticulously described, these tales tend to pivot on happenstance, and most deal with relationships: neighbourly, familial, or romantic. You feel like an accessory in the hardships and narrow escapes, a secret confidant to the characters’ intimacies. In the title story, a family of seriallooky-loos seem held together by their Sunday ritual of dropping in on open houses. Playfuljibes about ill-conceived renos. A quintessential inside joke session until circumstances move sideways. They are tales of subtle everyday pathos. A middle-aged woman plays a stripper togoad her shitty husband and finds herself wonderfully unburdened. A ne’er-do-well feels ready to play the hero, but instead is rescued from a haunting uncertainty. An older man raking snowcomes to represent mourning, regret, and the delicate equilibrium of the nosy neighbouring couple’s relationship. Dominant themes are self-discovery and women finding agency amid patriarchy. The truths uncovered are not always pretty—footings shift, and relationships change. The reading pleasure comes from being drawn tightly into the drama, like an intimate.