Valery the Great is a crackling, electric collection of dark humour that follows the bizarre and beautiful lives of its protagonists. Sometimes sweet and gentle, sometimes sharply sarcastic, the unique narrative voices in this collection are always powerfully touching.
Praise for Valery the Great:
"15 Finest Book Covers in Spring Fiction This Year" selection (Something Daily blog)
“By turns comic, pathetic, and tenderly tragic, Valery the Great is a charming collection.” (Quill & Quire)
“Her voice is scathing, very funny, her stories twisting at the end to leave me a bit stunned. … I loved this book, a short story collections whose curation had as much thought put into it as the stories themselves, a fantastic package with a gorgeous design. In addition to considerable talent, there is furious energy at work here, McCluskey giving it her all, and as a result, reading was a pleasure.” (Pickle Me This)
“McCluskey is at her finest when she uses sharp humour and skillful, economic description to communicate her fatalistic worldview.” (The Globe and Mail)
"Masterfully crafted short stories expose remarkable qualities of ordinary people ... This whole collection is about the unusual. These are stories about people who are ordinary, people who don’t stand out in the crowd and yet somehow, they do extraordinary things — although not necessarily good extraordinary things. McCluskey understands that somewhere in the hearts of us all is the desire to be recognized for what we do. Deep down, we want our lives to be special. This is an eclectic, darkly comedic collection, entertaining in their content and hard hitting in their message." — The Halifax Chronicle Herald
It may say something about Canada and Canadians that one of our canonical twentieth-century novels was called Beautiful Losers. ... it’s the many unique characters and settings that stay with the reader and make this collection well worth reading. Not all of McCluskey’s losers are beautiful, but there is real beauty in Valery the Great.