Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Fiction Short Stories (single Author)

Wide World in Celebration and Sorrow

Acts of Kamikaze Fiction

by (author) Leon Rooke

Exile Editions
Initial publish date
Oct 2012
Short Stories (single author), General
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2012
    List Price

Add it to your shelf

Where to buy it


Subversive, edgy, and wildly entertaining, this short story collection is a unique encounter with fiction in Leon Rooke’s characteristic style as he peels back the skin of social convention and embraces the chaos of life with characters and themes as unpredictable as an assassin who murders the words in your memory; Egi Balducchi who is either a recording angel or a mad old man with a wheelbarrow; Eli's daughter, Frannie, who may just be a gentle two-bit hooker, or the Virgin herself; and is that really God, shrugging off insults from Isaac Babel and Guy de Maupassant? Then there is Lap the Dog who escapes gunshot and poison, and heads cross-country to find the human survivors; a glimpse into the life of Joyce Carol Oates; the philosopher Heidegger in a fight with Hannah Arendt; the Indian Chief who is denied his professorship at Yale when he turns up for the ceremony with a black princess on his arm; and more... Wide World in Celebration and Sorrow is an evocative short story collection that is wild with laughter, confronting pathos, rage and humour in ways that only Rooke’s writing could approach.

About the author

An energetic and prolific storyteller, Leon Rooke's writing is characterized by inventive language, experimental form and an extreme range of characters with distinctive voices. He has written a number of plays for radio and stage and produced numerous collections of short stories. It is his novels, however, that have received the most critical acclaim. Fat Woman (1980) was shortlisted for the Governor General's Award and won the Paperback Novel of the Year Award. Shakespeare's Dog won the Governor General's Award in 1983. As a play, Shakespeare's Dog has toured as far afield as Barcelona and Edinburgh. A Good Baby was made into a feature film. Rooke founded the Eden Mills Writers' Festival in 1989. In 2007, Rooke was made a member of the Order of Canada. Other awards include the Canada/Australia prize, the W O Mitchell Award, the North Carolina Award for Literature and two ReLits (for short fiction and poetry). In 2012, he was the winner of the Gloria Vanderbilt Carter V Cooper Fiction Award. Recently, Rooke's works The Fall of Gravity and Shakespeare's Dog were produced in new editions for France and Italy, two countries where his work has been greatly admired.

Leon Rooke's profile page

Editorial Reviews

“It seems there’s hardly a register, a dialect, a mood, a setting, a protagonist, or a conceit that [Leon Rooke] won’t try on at least once. . . . A Rooke story is something to be ‘experienced’ rather than ‘understood.’”  —Quill & Quire

“Rooke eschews the dreary wet wool blanket of conventional realism, salting his stories with magic, myth, vituperation, and improbability. Often, out of the darkest and most moribund situations, he wrestles a startling and uncanny beauty, an affirmation of life, a stunning reversal that does not bespeak any faith or philosophy but a joy in the exuberant play of Language.”  —Globe and Mail

Other titles by Leon Rooke