The Secrets Men Keep is about the secrets men keep, and the comic possibilities that arise from our shifting sense of what it means to be a man. Taking an off-kilter approach to revealing the intricacies of modern relationships--relationships that can be at times funny, sensual, or tense--it's about the lies that men tell themselves and others to keep their dreams and identities afloat.
About the author
Mark Sampson is the author of the novels Off Book and Sad Peninsula, as well as the short story collection The Secrets Men Keep. His fiction, poetry and reviews have appeared in many journals across Canada. Mark is a regular book reviewer for Quill & Quire, Canadian Notes & Queries (CNQ) and other publications. He also writes the popular book blog Free Range Reading. Originally from Prince Edward Island, he now lives and writes in Toronto.
Offering sly comic pokes and affable satire, this memorable collection of 13 stories frequently highlights the significant gap between the empire-building ambitions of men and their humdrum and hemmed-in middle-management realities. An astute but not particularly harsh or misanthropic observer, Sampson (Sad Peninsula) dwells in fruitful and intriguing ways on the concessions, compromises, and "good enoughs" of adult heterosexual masculinity. In "The Man Room," a circle of stoop-shouldered suburban dads take a stand in the name of manhood by capturing a rapist, and in the delightful title story, the narrator recalls a trip with his immediate family to Michigan to attend the funeral of an uncle whose decades of stealthy alcoholism impress him. The stories "Invasion Complex" and "Itaewon" offer searing portraits of young guys spreading "the global contagion of English," whose relations with Korean women are befuddled at best and predatory at worst. Even when Sampson delves into the criminal spheres of cybercrime and organized crime in "Malware" and "In the Middle," respectively, he illustrates how commonplace fantasies of alpha-male conquest can go awry and the usual nine-to-five grind. (Apr.) ~ Publishers Weekly