These twelve linked stories confirm what we’ve suspsected all along: eventually we all outsmrat our parents. In this brilliant debut collection by Debbie Howlett we return to the turbulent 70s revisiting the bittersweet wonder years of Diane Wilkinson, a precocious teen living in suburban Montreal amidst the Catholic/Protestant, Federalist/Separatist split that foreshadowed the October Crisis. Against this backdrop of upheaval, Diane quietly chooses sides in her own domestic battles and armed with deadpan humour she protests her drunken father’s hapless philandering, her uncle’s half-cocked scams, her brother’s dimwitted nosiness and her mother’s silent acquiescence.
We Could Stay Here All Night captures the coming of age of a country as much as of a characterand hboth badly need to grow up. Diane soon comes to recognize, as we all must, that the line between adolescence and adulthood is one of convenience, and that the frantic search for love is no less desperate at 12 than it is at 40. Readers will want to curl up with these stories and stay all night.
Debbie Howlett's work has appeared in Prairie Fire, Room of One's Own, The Antigonish Review, Grain and in Best Canadian Stories 1990 and Words We Call Home. She lives in St. Lambert, Quebec.