Winner of the 2013 Scotiabank Giller Prize.
Shortlisted for the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize. Selected as an Amazon.ca Best Book and for The Globe's Top 10 Books of 2013.
With astonishing range and depth, Scotiabank Giller Prize finalist Lynn Coady gives us nine unforgettable new stories, each one of them grabbing our attention from the first line and resonating long after the last.
A young nun charged with talking an anorexic out of her religious fanaticism toys with the thin distance between practicality and blasphemy. A strange bond between a teacher and a schoolgirl takes on ever deeper, and stranger, shapes as the years progress. A bride-to-be with a penchant for nocturnal bondage can’t seem to stop bashing herself up in the light of day.
Equally adept at capturing the foibles and obsessions of men and of women, compassionate in her humour yet never missing an opportunity to make her characters squirm, fascinated as much by faithlessness as by faith, Lynn Coady is quite possibly the writer who best captures what it is to be human at this particular moment in our history.
Since 1998’s Strange Heaven, her Governor General’s Award–nominated debut novel, Coady has harmonized humour and heart in prose that rings true. Hellgoing provides another reminder that her use of wit is consummate, and her regard for the reader is gracious.
Toting their trauma, Coady’s characters repel these attacks from fathers, doctors, lovers and the legion of others that ‘know best’ by learning “to hurt and insult him as effortlessly as he did me.” This rebellion lets Coady’s wicked wit shine, and while compassion from the reader is complicated by this attitude, Coady always delivers a knockout punch at the end of each story,“ like picking at your cuticles and being surprised when they start to ache and bleed.
...a damned good read.
This is story on the verge of exceeding its narrative boundaries, and these moments are some of the most exciting in Coady’s work to date.
Hellgoing is hell going…Coady is a muscular writer, who drives us right smack into the situation her characters are experiencing… Coady’s stories are not about commonalities as such. They are unique.
A sharp, insightful writer with a tight, jarring style that makes use of fast narrative cuts, Coady deliberately leaves the human scribble tangled. This isn’t out of a desire to play coy, but rather an admission that problems involving relationships don’t have easy resolutions that can be clearly expressed.
Coady’s Giller-winning book of stories ranges wildly in style and content, but taken as a whole is an ideal introduction to one of Canada’s finest writers.
…brilliant collection of short stories…
It is the author's demonstrable strength as an ironist that prevents these stories- and these characters- from appearing completely hopeless.
[Coady's] sharp sense of humour serves to humanize even the most vicious or clueless figures in the book. There issearing honesty here about humankind's inability, or unwillingness, to make an effort at connection, but the author's own humanity rescues her vision from descending into despair or nihlism.
Hellgoing is a superb collection, end to end, and easily one of the best books I’ve read so far in 2013.
One of the hallmarks of Lynn Coady's work is her shrewd examination of the underexplored byways of human psychology.
Coady is a writer who increasingly commands attention and respect.