Sunday, July 03, 2011

Reader's Diary #730- Lynn Coady: Play the Monster Blind

Small towns are known gossip mills. Having lived most of my life in small towns, I can't say that's just a stereotype. They are. And reading Lynn Coady's Play the Monster Blind might lead one to believe that at the heart of all this gossip is insecurity. But this is not my way, or Lynn Coady's way, of suggesting that city folks are above that. I think city folks are just as insecure, that's a human condition, but unlike rural folk, they can survive it through anonymity. Anonymity is not a luxury in a small town.

Despite such potentially cynical and depressing themes, the short stories in Coady's stories are often amusing and sometimes so accurate that I confused them with satire. I can't praise these stories enough. Pinpoint accurate description, dialogue, and characterization, I was reminded somewhat of Margaret Laurence, if only Margaret Laurence had a sense of humour. Brilliant collection and will definitely be in my top 10 reads of this year.

*Play the Monster Blind was part of a failed experiment I attempted this year, along with John Valliant's The Tiger. The idea was to leave these 2 books in the van for the times I found myself waiting for my wife to run into the store, etc. It works unless your wife insists on removing them from said van whenever she decides to clean it.


Anonymous said...

I wasn't drawn to the title, but then I read your review. I live in a village, have a social life (and used to work) in another village and am not far to a small town. I'm sure I could connect to these short stories. I've added the collection to my TBR list.

Melwyk said...

I've only heard good things about this one. Must pick it up. I enjoyed her novel Mean Boy -- she was great at skewering academic poetry/writing programs ;)

Heather said...

I live in a tiny town. One school and one stop light. I know what you're saying. I don't know everyonone, but if their kids went to the school, there is a good chance I do. We've only been here 15 years so we are still considered new.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I loved this book. In fact I have given copies of it to friends because I felt they needed to read it.

Now I just need a spouse who will clean my vehicle...

Wanda said...

I have the opposite problem, I have to bribe my family members to retrive my books from the car when I forget to bring them in myself. It's a really bad day when I don't remember 'til after hubby leaves for work.

'Play the Monster Blind' sounds great but I refuse to put it on hold before I read 'Mean Boy'.