Read You, Kwaznievski, You Piss Me Off: Stories by John Lavery Free Online
Book Title: You, Kwaznievski, You Piss Me Off: Stories|
The author of the book: John Lavery
ISBN 13: 9781550226744
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 661 KB
Edition: ECW Press
Date of issue: October 1st 2004
Read full description of the books You, Kwaznievski, You Piss Me Off: Stories:John Lavery's back with You, Kwaznievski, You Piss Me Off is one of the best books of 2004, IMHO. It also has one of the strangest titles. A collection of linked short stories (eight in 209 pages), You, Kwaznievski, You Piss Me Off integrates traditionalist excellence with inspired innovation and creates something unique in the process.
In my review of Very Good Butter, I noted that "the instability of meaning ... [is] one of Lavery's strongest themes." That theme continues in this new collection, whose protagonist may be the Kwaznievski of the title, or it may be the one who speaks the title phase, a police officer in Montreal, Detective Inspector PF. Late in the book, PF says: "People fuck up, they always will, and I take my cut." As an officer of the law, PF is charged with helping to maintain order, but order doesn't want to be maintained -- as Thomas Pynchon reminded us decades ago, entropy rules (see the story "Entropy" in Slow Learner). Life is crumbling towards heat-death, but there are forces pushing against it: fear, paranoia, the law, the media, your Aunt Matilda. Detective Inspector PF pushes against death, too; at least on his good days, of which there seem to be fewer and fewer.
("People fuck up, they always will, and I take my cut" could be the mantra of fiction writers, too, who would have nothing to say were it not for the slings and arrows of outrageous human drama.
This is a book with many italicized passages. They add to the narrative's polyphonic presentation.)
What makes You, Kwaznievski, You Piss Me Off so remarkable, to me, are the layers of story Lavery integrates into an operatic whole. Some stories move the reader along by following a single protagonist through a series of changes, or crises, or along a thought-process. .... You, Kwaznievski, You Piss Me Off does all of those things and more; it is literature that it is truly symphonic.
(I keep reaching for music metaphors -- "operatic," "symphonic" -- because I'm not sure how else to describe this book. Like a Van Gogh painting filtered through Jackson Pollack? Like Eminem jamming with Pink Floyd?
What's the plot, you say? Detective Inspector PF is a Montreal cop. He is 20-odd years into his career. His wife has died. He is something of a celebrity because he appears on a local television show. He is obsessed with a woman -- Kwaznievski -- who appears to be homeless and who claims to have found a large bundle of cash by the side of the road. The different stories take numerous detours along with way, showing similar characters from dis-similar angles.
Any weaknesses in this book? Some readers will find an emphasis on the thought-processes of characters detracts from the forward thumping motion of the plot. Some readers might say: "Too much philosophizing." For those readers, there are many other books out there to please them. Personally, I wouldn't ask Lavery to change a word.)
On the back cover, Lee Henderson says: "Lavery's stories are today's great laughless comedies." And Mark Anthony Jarman calls Lavery "a dolphin of a writer, jumping through the waves with glee." What I want to add is that Lavery's stories are serious and ambitious in a way that most books in Canada are not. Publishers complain that short story collections don't sell -- as if sales were the sole criterion for publishing decisions. You, Kwaznievski, You Piss Me Off will not be the next Da Vinci Code, but no matter -- it is the kind of book that ought to be winning all of the high-falutin literary prizes -- both in Canada, and abroad.
Read information about the authorJohn Lavery was the author of two acclaimed story collections, Very Good Butter and You, Kwaznievski, You Piss Me Off, and of one novel, Sandra Beck. Very Good Butter was a finalist for the Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction, and Lavery has twice been a finalist in the annual Prism International fiction contest. Sandra Beck was made the Globe and Mail's top 100 books of the year. His stories have appeared in This Magazine, Canadian Forum, the Ottawa Citizen, and the London Spectator, as well as in the Journey Prize Anthology. He lived in Gatineau, Quebec.
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