Here is the best of Bill Gaston's stories since the publication of his Giller Prize nominated collection, Mount Appetite (2002). In this extraordinary work, Gaston crafts his fiction around the idea of the gargoyle -- the concrete representation of extremes of human emotions.
In Gaston's marvellous, riotous, Rabelaisian world, Gargoyles are physical manifestations of the disfigurements and contortions to which we human beings subject ourselves. Indeed, as Gaston wrote each story, he sketched out a distinct gargoyle to look down over it. For that reason, each story in this collection has a strange and unique guardian spirit whose sometimes benevolent, and sometimes malevolent, presence informs the characters and their actions. Gargoyles shows one of our best writers at the top of his form.
Bill Gaston is the author of several works of fiction, including the Scotiabank Giller Prize finalist Mount Appetite, the Governor General's Literary Award finalist Gargoyles, and the acclaimed novels, Sointula, The Good Body, and The Order of Good Cheer. Gaston was the inaugural recipient of the Writers' Trust of Canada Timothy Findley Award, for a distinguished body of work. He lives in Victoria, British Columbia.
Canada has produced few writers as astonishingly original as Bill Gaston...Gargoyles never fails to entertain, enlighten and dazzle.
Whether his characters are twelve-year-old boys or eighty-year-old women, he gets into their skin and pulls us along with him. It is this looking-out from the eyes of someone else that is among Gaston's greatest accomplishments as a storyteller....Besides creating believable characters, Gaston is astonishingly fast at establishing the world each story is set in--an important skill considering how different each story's world is.
...Gargoyles is an example of what short stories can and should achieve: a resilient compactness of prose that rely on nebulous but defined parameters for impact.
Funny, distressing, scary, deeply human.
[A] compelling and highly original collection.
As always, Gaston's social consciousness is leavened by humour - sometimes gut splitting, often wry, never dull. Close reading and re-reading reward: what eludes in dark water emerges bright and new.
...vivid, unpredictable, and fascinating.
Every word...is precise and perfect. He layers so much in 15 pages that, once you've finished a story, you feel as if you've absorbed a novels worth of thoughts and images.