Douglas H. Glover, Author . Dalkey Archive $13.95 (212p) ISBN 978-1-56478-286-1

At once wandering and pithy, these 12 stories by Canadian writer Glover (The Life and Times of Captain N., etc.) are sophisticated, darkly comic meditations on love and disenchantment. "Iglaf and Swan" unsentimentally chronicles the downward spiral of the eponymous lovers, would-be poets in Toronto who marry, have a child, then separate, realizing wryly that "we fall in love with each other's failings, with our own vulnerabilities mirrored in the other." "La Corriveau" begins with a woman in Quebec City waking up in bed next to a dead man she doesn't know; though nonplussed, she stoically gathers clues to explain the situation while musing incongruously (yet appealingly) about the history of the city. "Why I Decide to Kill Myself and Other Jokes" tells of an aborted suicide attempt by a young woman disappointed by her inadequate rapport with her boyfriend. Her theft of cyanide from a university lab culminates in a near-slapstick, bitterly funny finale. "My Romance," which begins with the death of a couple's three-month-old son, comes closer to tragedy, though it, too, has elements of farce: after an interlude at a cheap motel with the baby's doctor, the husband takes a wild ATV ride with the motel owners' drunken son. Glover has a delightful epigrammatic flair ("Hell, our army won't even consider fighting a country where the people can afford shoes anymore"; "My wife and I decide to separate, and then suddenly we are almost happy together") and a startlingly prescient take on affairs of the heart. Unevenly paced but brilliant in spots, these stories are loopy, loping delights. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 04/21/2003
Release date: 04/01/2003
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