Paradise + Elsewhere

Kathy Page. Biblioasis (Consortium, U.S. dist.; PGC, Canadian dist.), US$15.95/C$18.95 trade paper (158p) ISBN 978-1-927428-59-7
Best known as a literary realist, Kathy Page (nominated for the Orange Prize for The Story of My Face) has created a collection of 14 fabulist short stories that marks a somewhat unsatisfying shift in her writing. The stories feature an eclectic mix of characters ranging from a poor young villager in "G'ming," to a shape-shifting selkie in "Low Tide," to a cannibalistic yet tender mother in "Lambing." Page links these tales together with a folkloric writing style which seems foreign to her and which constricts her characters' dialogue to the point where their personalities bleed together. Page addresses political issues such as globalism and feminism throughout her collection but allows these issues to overshadow the stories themselves. "Clients," the impressive standout within the collection, abandons these fetters, allowing Page the opportunity to explore the unique idea of a world in which couples hire professional conversationalists in order to speak with one another. Page's talents also shine through in "The Kissing Disease," a story about a contagious kissing virus that causes infected individuals to develop ludicrous alternate personalities. The politically-charged demi-fables in this collection tend to sound prescriptive. However, when given the freedom to develop organically and with subtlety, Page's stories demonstrate her impressive creative abilities. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/21/2014
Release date: 06/01/2014
Genre: Fiction
Ebook - 128 pages - 978-1-927428-60-3
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