About the Author

Cordelia Strube

Born and raised in Montreal, Cordelia Strube trained as an actress, moving to Toronto in the ’80s. She turned to writing plays for radio and in 1987 won the CBC Literary Competition for her play Mortal. She has also won the Toronto Arts Foundation Protege Award and been shortlisted for the Prix Italia, the Books In Canada First Novel Award, the ReLit, and the Governor General’s Award. Her seven novels include Milton’s Elements, Dr. Kalbfleisch and the Chicken Restaurant and Planet Reese.

Books by this Author
Alex & Zee

Alex & Zee

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Misconduct of the Heart


“Do you remember Stan?” I ask.


“Of course.”


“He pulled me from the dishpit.  Taught me everything I know.”


“You were teacher's pet.  He called the rest of us dipshits and ne'er do wells.”


“I went to see him in hospital.  It was weird because there was nothing to say really, outside Chappy's.  I said I'd visit him again but he told me not to come back.”


I visited him a bunch of times.”




“Before he died.”


“He let you?”


“I didn't give him a choice.  He had nobody.”


“But, I mean, you just showed up at the hospital even though he told you not to?”


“I brought him thermal socks.  His feet were cold.”


That I didn't have the courage to do this, to show my devotion despite Stan's objections, reactivates a seething inner loss.  I grab a rubber band and stretch it between my fingers. 


“He talked about you,” Conquer says, “was worried you wouldn't be able to handle the take-over.  All the corporate shit.”


“How wrong he was.  I am one corporate animal.”  The rubber band snaps.


“What did Bob say?”


“Bob is taking an online course called Discovering Inner Pathways to Success.  He is learning about the importance of empathy and understands that he needs to be more empathic, only he keeps saying 'emphatic' because, as you know, he's dyslexic.”


“Tell me about it.  Last week he saw a truck in the parking lot with Geek Squad on it and wanted to know what a Greek Salad truck was doing outside Chappy's.” 


“Conquer, it's time you learned to appreciate the upside of Bob.  Imagine if we had a real general manager giving real orders—a corporate manager we couldn't ignore.”


In a Viking quandary, he savours blueberry water.  I need a shower to get Bartholomew off me, to become fully sober, to manage my regrets about deserting Stan all yellow and bloated with cold feet; Stan who didn't call me a dipshit or a ne'er do well.  Who told me I did whizzbang jobs.  Why couldn't I interpret that “don't come back” meant come back and bring me thermal socks?  Why do I cave so easily?


“I wish my son didn't hate me,” I say.


Conquer shrugs.  “Kids hate their parents.”


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The Barking Dog

The Barking Dog

also available: Paperback
tagged : literary
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