Shortlisted for the 2008 Relit Award for Fiction
Dirty pool halls, greasy restaurants, suburban skateboarder showdowns, and dangerous drug dens--some things in life just aren't very subtle.
And neither are the short stories in Six Ways to Sunday. In fact, they brashly make out with subtlety's teenage crush, beat subtlety into the sidewalk, take a dump on its favourite patch of daisies, and unceremoniously bury it somewhere in the woods near Morgan Lake, Quebec.
Realism is often the central element of short fiction, and often too much. Christian McPherson reminds us that to many people, fictions are central to their realities: lottery tickets, deals with God, the delusion of owning the world--or at least selectively rebuilding it in models, bruise-covering makeovers, a chronic criminal playing parent, beating the bad guys and getting away with the loot, and, most certainly, the divine creation of the perfect chilidog.
McPherson infuses his gritty settings with a hyperkinetic imagination and fantastically animated writing style that make his stories impossible to put down or forget. The characters who subsist Six Ways to Sunday are the xenophobic, the substance-abused, the VLT-addicted, and the just plain lost, shining bright and battered in the dingy recesses of the bar.
"...genuinely hilarious moments... McPherson is at his best when the threatening potential for deviancy, dishonesty, or violence remains spectre instead of spectacle... it is in the book's subtleties that the writing and storytelling is most accomplished."
--Owen Percy, Canadian Literature
"The characters who haunt Six Ways to Sunday are prisoners of their own passions, desires, addictions. When they cannot break out of the misery of their own creation, McPherson offers redemption through small acts of bravery, miracles of love large and small. A fascinating debut."
"Christian McPherson's barfly madrigals are smoky and complex, shadowy tales from a shadowy planet, some so afflicted they'll give you a rash."
--Mark Anthony Jarman
"In his debut collection, McPherson conjures a gritty and colourful Ottawa, populated by addicts and losers, obsessives and gawky teens. ... McPherson's endings, like the pool hustles, drug deals and long afternoon shags of these stories, have a nice way of leaving things open to the unexpected."