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Fiction Short Stories (single Author)

Things As They Are

by (author) Guy Vanderhaeghe

McClelland & Stewart
Initial publish date
Feb 2004
Short Stories (single author), Literary, Small Town & Rural
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Feb 2004
    List Price

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By The Award-Winning Author Of The Last Crossing And The Englishman’s Boy

Deftly layered, humane, these stories brilliantly capture the pathos and comedy of the human condition. Following the death of his domineering father, a middle-aged man tries to uncover a truth about their sometimes difficult relationship. When a grade-six teacher tyrannizes a student without apparent reason, the boy learns an unexpected lesson and his young life is changed irrevocably. An elderly widow falls prey to a con artist, revealing what we are capable of sacrificing to appease what we dread the most. A twelve-year-old boy is shunted off to his grandmother’s farm and becomes part of an adult world he scarcely understands. A group of high-school students play on a classmate’s self-delusions and set up what promises to be the most loaded boxing match ever staged. Whether writing from the point of view of a child, an adolescent, or a man in his seventies, Guy Vanderhaeghe takes us into the lives of his characters with razor-sharp insights laced with gentle humour.

About the author

Guy Vanderhaeghe was born in Esterhazy, Saskatchewan in 1951. He is the author of six books of fiction. His first two books were collections of short stories: Man Descending (1982), which won the Governor’s General’s Award, and the Faber Prize in the U.K., and The Trouble With Heroes (1983). My Present Age, a novel, was published in 1984 and was followed by Homesick in 1989. That novel was a co-winner of the City of Toronto Book Award. His third book of short stories was the highly praised Things As They Are? (1992). The Englishman’s Boy (1996) was a long-time national bestseller and won the Governor General’s Award for Fiction, the Saskatchewan Book Award for Fiction and for Best Book of the Year, and was short-listed for The Giller Prize, and the prestigious International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, the world’s largest monetary award for a single book. Acclaimed for his fiction, Vanderhaeghe has also written plays. I Had a Job I Liked. Once. was first produced in 1991, and won the Canadian Authors Association Award for Drama. His second play, Dancock’s Dance, was produced in 1995. He is currently completing a screenplay for The Englishman’s Boy. Guy lives in Saskatoon, where he is a Visiting Professor of English at S.T.M. College. His most recent book, The Last Crossing, has been short-listed for a total of three Saskatchewan Book Awards: Best Book of the Year, Fiction Book of the Year, and the Saskatoon Book Award.

Guy Vanderhaeghe's profile page

Editorial Reviews

“This is vintage work from a writer with all the right stuff. Immensely enjoyable.”
–Mordecai Richler

“Compelling – and often surprisingly comic.… Vanderhaeghe has an uncanny ear for the vernacular.… A polished volume of finely crafted tales.”
“These are wonderful stories. Many contain a wealth of character and event which could sustain entire novels. Such an unabashedly entertaining collection of stories is very rare.”
–Bill Gaston, Halifax Daily News
“An unqualified delight.… His stories have drama but he avoids being melodramatic, weaving an artistic web out of the strands of everyday life. His characters and themes are both particular and universal, contemporary and timeless.”
Canadian Book Review Annual
“Vanderhaeghe creates vivid, credible characters.… [These stories] draw the reader into the dramatic tensions that arise from people living at cross purposes.… Vanderhaeghe is an important voice.…”
Vancouver Sun
“Guy Vanderhaeghe is extraordinarily adept at taking readers beyond the visible surface and into the emotional heart of his characters.… His vivid prose takes the reader into the skin of his creations.”
“[Vanderhaeghe’s stories showcase] a flexible and authentic narrative voice; complex narrative strategy; precise rendition of place, time and mood; broad and penetrating intellect; generous and incisive wit; and remarkably felicitous language.… He brings readers closer to the pathos of human existence.… The particularity and precision of Vanderhaeghe’s characterization paradoxically opens onto universal issues.… Penetrating and moving.…”
Things As They Are is impressively varied, ten pieces that capture the absurdity of the human condition, yet retain a compassion that gives them depth.”
Toronto Sun
“Vanderhaeghe’s talent for seeing things as they are keeps Things As They Are from the grimness its themes might suggest. There is pain here, to be sure, and an aching awareness of our lack of generosity to each other, but it’s leavened with a high-spirited and unselfconscious heartiness that makes those conditions only a part of the broader range of human experience.”
Ottawa Citizen
Things As They Are is a terrific collection, full of memorable and moving characters vividly rendered.”
Broadway Magazine

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