An audacious New Face of Fiction debut: nine riveting stories that announce a major writer in the tradition of Yann Martel and Barbara Gowdy.
Unexpected humour and tenderness intertwine with loneliness and hopefulness in this remarkable book from an already acclaimed writer. In nine richly varied stories, written in intense, clear-eyed prose, the reader is led into an exploration of the human need for connection, however tenuous or absurd, and at whatever cost. The stories operate with heartbreaking precision, drawing us past the surface of characters’ lives and into the moments of decision and recognition that shape these people irrevocably.
Here are stories striking in the range of their shifting tone and the reach of their subjects. We are introduced to a support group for people who suspect their benign nature has caused benign tumours to grow inside them. The title story zeroes in on a girl with Fred Hoyle syndrome whose age expands and contracts like the universe. A recently widowed woman talks to her husband’s ashes, which are entombed in a hollowed-out curling stone. A store detective’s valiant act to save a pair of pink calfskin gloves is entwined with the unfortunate results of an unsuccessful space mission.
Rendering grief, loneliness, hope, love and happiness with exquisite subtlety and intelligence, Neil Smith proves himself an able chronicler of the human condition. Bang Crunch constitutes a significant achievement by a powerful new writer.
Neil Smith is a Montreal writer. He has won an honourable mention at the National Magazine Awards, first prize at the Eden Mills Writers’ Festival, and was nominated for the Journey Prize three times. His writing has appeared in The Journey Prize Stories, Coming Attractions 04, The Malahat Review, The New Quarterly, Fiddlehead and Maisonneuve.
“Bang Crunch is a wonder. Devastatingly witty, heartfelt and wise. YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK.”
Praise for Neil Smith:
“Smith’s numerous talents collapse the distance between maniacal violence and the insecurities and inadequacies beneath the surface of daily life.”
—The Globe and Mail