by Carrianne Leung
First sentence: “1979: This was the year the parents in my neighbourhood began killing themselves.”
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Review copy provided by the publisher.
Content: There is some sex (on-screen but not graphic) and swearing, including a few f-bombs. It’s in the adult fiction section of the bookstore.
Set in a suburb of Toronto, specifically on one street in a particular neighborhood, this collection of connected short stories follows the inner workings of a dozen people of all ages. The characters are mostly women, except for one black teenage boy, and many of them are immigrants. Leung explores immigrant expectations and prejudices toward them. She explores female dynamics both with other females and with males. She touches on sexual assault and racism and emotional abuse. It’s a lot. And yet, it works.
I usually have problems with short stories, but I think because these are connected — the characters in the stories appear in their own as well as in the background of other stories — it felt more like a novel. We got to know the characters, we get to know the neighborhood, and because each story focuses on a different person, we get to know them intimately and it means more when they show up in a different story.
I really enjoyed this one!