Elyse Friedman's fiction is described as "part Kafka, part South Park" (Toronto Star). Here, in her best, most mature, and most nuanced work, she offers a dark, comically off-beat, and surprisingly heartbreaking novella about a young man who copes with the passage into adulthood by cultivating an almost fanatically ironic view of the world, but who is ultimately forced to deliver a death blow to irony -- which visits him in the form of a washed-up '80s sitcom star.
In the accompanying handful of short stories, Friedman demonstrates her sure touch with everyday situations and her uncanny, precise ability to expose the strangeness at the heart of normal. Her moving story The Soother, about a middle-aged man who copes with intense demands from family and friends by visiting a prostitute he pays to coddle and soothe him, won Gold at the 2006 National Magazine Awards for fiction and was published in the Toronto Life summer fiction issue. A second story, Lost Kitten, was also nominated for a 2006 National Magazine Award, and Truth was selected for the Journey Prize Anthology and appeared in Best Canadian Stories.
About the author
- Short-listed, ReLit Awards - Short Stories
- Short-listed, Toronto Book Award
Long Story Short spans a broad emotional range, from hilarity to heartbreak, with a dark comedic edge...to expose and explore human desires, secrets, and fears, while writing with a sharply observed wit, clever and startling enough to make you laugh aloud...Black humour and sharp dialogue are [Friedman's] strengths; she achieves a perfect balance of laughs and pathos...a viciously funny and emotionally rewarding read.
Nothing staid here-only smart, dark and funny.
At turns laugh-out-loud funny and devastatingly sad...The cult of celebrity gets raked over the coals by Friedman with salacious wit and dead-pan dialogue that drips with irony.
Quill & Quire
Long Story Short: A Novella and Stories teems with subversive wit and weird sex; in the novella, 'A Bright Tragic Thing,' a teen befriends a former sitcom star with alternately hysterical and uncomfortable results.
Friedman's writing is brave, wise and full of gasp-out-loud surprises.
Elyse Friedman, author of the story collection Long Story Short, might indeed be Toronto's version of France's Michel Houllebecq...It is not that my syntax lacks parallelism. I'm well aware that Toronto is a city and France is a country, but the characters who populate Friedman's stories are definitely in a country of their own, and their Toronto lives and the way Friedman writes them are as base and raw as Houellebecq's. I'm confident that Friedman, like Houellebecq, is an essential voice.
Globe and Mail
...Contemporary short fiction in glorious full bloom...Interesting tales, cleverly rendered, compellingly written, and enduringly resonant.
Friedman drags me screaming and kicking into these narratives and leaves me visibly shaken...and, even though there is little out there I find shocking any more, I think she finds some edges for me. Perhaps what Friedman is writing is Reality Fiction...
Globe and Mail
...willfully bent, instinctually witty...
Reading a story collection can be like having to jump into 10 or 12 cold lakes, one after another. But a Friedman story is like an indoor pool with the thermostat set to 86 degrees. It's easy to slip right in.
Long Story Short allows us to engage these uncomfortable larger issues through humour and sharp prose, and the result is unexpectedly empathetic and fun.