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Fiction Short Stories (single Author)

What I Want to Tell Goes Like This

by (author) Matt Rader

Nightwood Editions
Initial publish date
Oct 2014
Short Stories (single author)
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2014
    List Price

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What I Want to Tell Goes Like This is an intensely original first short story collection from acclaimed poet Matt Rader. The last story, "All This Was a Long Time Ago," is the 2014 winner of the Jack Hodgins Founders' Award for fiction from The Malahat Review, and other offerings from the collection have appeared in Event, The New Quarterly, Grain, Joyland, Forget Magazine and the Rusty Toque.

Rader's command of tension is masterful in these dark, off-kilter stories that are largely set in the context of the working/labour class in and around the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island, BC. They alternate between exploring the history of severe labour struggles in the area over a century ago, and the present-day experiences of people sliding through transitional, ambiguous moments in their relationships and sexuality. The juxtaposition of the two time periods seems to hint at the echoes of the harsh, violent legacy of the earlier age and its power struggles that continue to resonate in contemporary life.

In What I Want to Tell Goes Like This, we are witness to the controversial shooting death of infamous union activist Albert "Ginger" Goodwin by a police constable in 1918; to the squalor of tent cities erected on the Royston Bay mudflats during the Great Vancouver Coal Strike of 1912-14; to two boys' experimentation with sexual violence at the end of a secluded logging road; and to clarity and companionship found in a small cabin by the sea as a son cares for his dying father--a rough man who abandoned him when he was eight. In Rader's artful tales of grit and mystery, danger never feels far away.

About the author

Matt Rader is the author of three books of poems: A Doctor Pedalled Her Bicycle Over the River Arno (House of Anansi, 2011), Living Things (Nightwood Editions, 2008), and Miraculous Hours (Nightwood Editions, 2005), which was a finalist for the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award and long-listed for the ReLit Award. His poems, stories and non-fiction have appeared in The Walrus, Prism International, The Fiddlehead, The Journey Prize Anthology, as well as many other publications across North America, Australia and Europe and have been nominated for numerous awards including the Gerald Lampert Award, the Journey Prize and two Pushcart Prizes. His website is

Matt Rader's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"'All lives have secrets and every secret has a life.' Matt Rader's stories live and breathe in the private space that only the best fiction occupies. Eclectic, idiosyncratic, surprising, completely compelling, I loved this collection. What I want to tell you goes like this: read this book."
--Michael Crummey

"Matt Rader writes the secret corners of history, pieces the shards of what is forgotten, and tracks the lost. These stories remind us of why literature is important."
--Tamas Dobozy

"I love this book for both the swagger and economy of its language, and for the mad and brilliant way it splices time. I love it because it populates its stories with peoples, geographies and lives so often missing from our fictive landscapes, and because it does so with imagination,
bravado and a seriously beautiful wit."
--Madeliene Thien

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