Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Literary Criticism Canadian

Bearers of Risk

Writing Masculinity in Contemporary English-Canadian Short Story Cycles

by (author) Neta Gordon

McGill-Queen's University Press
Initial publish date
Apr 2022
Canadian, Short Stories, Gender Studies, 21st Century
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Apr 2022
    List Price

Add it to your shelf

Where to buy it


The short story and the short story cycle have long been considered a marginal genre, free to make room for fresh or risk-taking voices. But in thematizing masculinity in crisis, the genre uses the premise of the marginal to elevate recuperative masculinity politics and nostalgia for traditional patriarchy.
Despite the scholarly tendency to link marginal genres and marginalized voices, features of the CanLit infrastructure – including genre criticism and literary prize culture – are complicit in normalizing hegemonic masculinity and the Settler colonial project. Bearers of Risk examines how male Canadian writers mobilize the early twenty-first-century short story cycle as an illustration of post-9/11 recuperative masculinity politics, exposing the tendency to position White, heteronormative men’s viewpoints as objective. Neta Gordon introduces the civil bearer of risk, a figure who comprehends the position of men as being marked by or for failure, and who reasserts masculine authority as civil duty towards community. This book looks at contemporary experimental short story cycles, debut cycles by ethnically minoritized and immigrant writers, and cycles unified by setting, whether suburban, urban, or rural.
Bearers of Risk unsettles popular notions of the inherent outsider status of the short story cycle while also scrutinizing expressions of recuperative masculinity politics through which men assert their right to reclaim the centre.

About the author

Neta Gordon is an associate professor at Brock University, where she teaches courses on Canadian literature. She is a co-editor of The Broadview Introduction to Literature (2013) and has written on such authors as Barbara Gowdy, SKY Lee, and Ann-Marie MacDonald.

Neta Gordon's profile page

Other titles by Neta Gordon