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Hudson, Noel.

Winlaw (B.C.), Polestar Press, c1986. 134pp, paper, $9.95, ISBN 0-919591-09-4. (Polestar First Fiction). CIP

Grades 10 and up
Reviewed by David Chadwick

Volume 14 Number 5
1986 September

This collection of comic short stories is the first book of both the author and of the publisher. Some of the stories have previously appeared in literary magazines such as the Malahat Review and Fiddlehead. Hudson has a quirky sense of the banality and incongruity of much of modern life and customs, which makes the collection both amusing and engaging.

The characters that dominate this book are not the glamour types so prevalent in modern television soaps and situation comedies. These characters live and work in trailers or cheap apartments. Their concerns typify the interests of those for whom the American dream is just that, an unobtainable fantasy. While the stories are for the most part gently ironic as the character contradictions are laid bare, at least one story, "Diminishing." deals with the bleaker side of life, as fatalism overtakes a man obsessed with his size and place in the world. The title story features a narrator who has overdosed on supermarket tabloids and top forty radio. Accordingly, his conversation is littered with the cliches of both. Like many of Ihe eccentrics in this book he has little comprehension of a future beyond the rut he is in.

Polestar First Fiction series will feature first novels and collections of short stories by new Canadian writers. Based on this debut selection, the series will be worth watching for.

David Chadwick, Winnipeg, Man.
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