With wit and sensitivity, these tales portray moments of suffering, confusion and discovery. Also, the reader is introduced to a wide variety of worlds, worlds that reveal Abray's deep understanding of how people engage with-and become obsessed by-activities such as Japanese kite-making, bees, daycare, alcohol, and motorcycle maintenance. How does the activity reveal the person? How the problem? Abray's stories push full-on into the world of obsessions. A new vacuum cleaner becomes a new pawn in a just-ended relationship. Riding-a-motorbike becomes the way brothers bond over their troubled relationship with their father. A wise naturalist takes the reader on a comic tour of an animal-filled mall, and a bee infestation in a kitchen forces three urban apartment-sharing youths to suddenly confront nature and their own changing relationship. Yes: in these stories, Tom Abray shows us how every human activity becomes a metaphor: for self-revelation, and for relationships that range from romantic to familial.
About the authors
Tom Abray grew up near Strathroy, Ontario, and then moved to Montreal to study English at McGill University. After completing his M.A. in creative writing at Concordia University he began teaching at John Abbott College. His collection of short stories, Pollen (DC Books, 2011), was shortlisted for the Concordia University First Book Prize, as well as the Paragraphe Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction. He also written and directed a number of short films that have screened at festivals in North America and Europe.
Harold Hoefle teaches English and Creative Writing at John Abbott College. He lives in Montreal.
'Also among the more interesting pieces are a couple of short vignettes that stray from conventional narrative approaches in favour of different, lyrical, or absurdist registers, like Wendy, Field Guide with its nonsense natural history and Snow with its paranoid voyeurism, and the longer tale, Swarm certainly a contender for the books high point which closes the collection. Using the elaborately sustained trope of a swarm of bees invading an apartment, Swarm shows a good touch and moments of real psychological sensitivity in its impressionistic look at the relationships shared by a trio of roommates.' -- MRB 2012