The Dead Are More Visible

The Dead Are More Visible


Book - 2012
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An astoundingly original and tightly curated collection of stories from the award-winning author of Every Lost Country and Afterlands .
It is remarkably easy to accept Al Purdy's assertion that Steven Heighton--renowned for his craftsmanship, risk-taking, insight and range--"is one of the best writers of his generation, maybe the best." The Dead Are More Visible highlights his strengths at writing fiction that does not sacrifice humour, depth and emotion for the sake of brevity. These 11 profoundly moving and finely crafted stories encapsulate wildly divergent themes of love and loss, containment and exclusion. In the title story, a parks & rec worker faces an assailant who does not leave the altercation intact. A medical researcher and his claustrophobic fiancée are locked in the trunk of their car after a failed carjacking (the thief can't drive standard). A young woman enters a pharmaceutical trial in the outer reaches of suburbia and slips between sleeping and waking with increasingly alarming ease. Pairing the cultural acuity of Lost in Translation with the compassion and reach of The World According to Garp , Heighton breathes new life into the short story, a genre that is finally coming into its own.
Publisher: Toronto : Alfred A. Knopf Canada, c2012
ISBN: 9780307397416
Branch Call Number: FIC Heig
Characteristics: 260 p


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Aug 02, 2012

Well-crafted and dense short stories.

Cdnbookworm Jun 17, 2012

This collection of short stories offers wonderful variety. Each story stands alone, with the voices individual. Some men, some women, many facing a life-changing event, or dealing with the aftermath of one. The writing is wonderfully done, with interesting turns of phrase. A favourite example: "In a world where there isn't enough importance to go around, men like him, who need a lot of it, will always be disappointed."
I loved the variety of settings: urban Japan, the Okanagon Desert, a drug trial institution, an outdoor city ice rink at night. And the characters, some comfortable in their lives, some trying to find their way. A collection like this shows the range of the author. I'll definitely be recommending this collection.

ksoles Jun 06, 2012

The 11 stories in "The Dead Are More Visible" appear completely diverse in both tone and content: a history of two women who have fallen in and out of love, a tale of a nomadic English teacher who feels unmoored in Japan and stream of consciousness from a young addict on a rehabilitation trip who begins to hallucinate that he is reliving the temptations of Christ in the desert. Still other stories pick up a survivalist thread, placing characters suffering from varied states of psychological and physical fragility in extreme situations. A bereft man jogging up a steep hill reflects on the loss of his son and the business of aging; a former firefighter remembers the night his career ended.

But the collection ultimately sits well, bound not by a singular voice but by the theme of questing and the emphasis on the way language helps frame the world. Heighton's smart, intriguing characters do more than merely survive; they reach out always toward other people.

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