Gaston’s characteristic keen insight and wit dazzle in this new collection. Readers will see the world through the prism of unfamiliar perspectives: a bank executive whose excellent sex life might in fact be killing her, an amorous tree surgeon better attuned to the values of his “patients” than to other people, a vacationing schizophrenic, a pizza-delivery boy convinced he’s witnessed magic—all struggling with the world as they see it.
This versatile collection—at times darkly playful, absurd, or shockingly real—illustrates how we can fail to understand the simplest of truths and how we are trapped by the peculiarities of our own points of view.
The Globe and Mail says that “Bill Gaston deserves to dwell in the company of Findlay, Atwood, and Munro as one of this country’s literary treasures.” In his hands, the outlandish becomes comprehensible and everyday life comes to look strange. What unifies these stories and their characters is the underlying faith in the humanity of even the most dangerously misguided among us.
Brazenly entertaining, but just as often heartbreaking, Juliet Was a Surprise portrays the humour and unfairness of life through the blunders and crimes of quixotic men and women with whom we can’t help but sympathize.
Bill Gaston's most recent short-story collection Gargoyles was nominated for the Governor General's Award, and won the ReLit Award and the City of Victoria Butler Prize. His previous collection, Mount Appetite, was a finalist for the Giller Prize. He was the inaugural recipient of the Timothy Findley Prize, awarded by the Writers' Trust of Canada. His latest novel, The World, won the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize. Gaston's fiction has also won the CBC Literary Prize, the National Magazine Award, and has frequently appeared in Best Canadian Stories. He lives in Victoria.
“A celebration of the oddness of every life. . . the stories are poised, always, at the cusp of laughter, heartbreak and mystery. To read them is a heart-opening experience.” - Vancouver Sun