Hellgoing by Lynn Coady
House of Anansi Press Inc., 2013
223 pages, $19.95
“Then spring happened, the way it sometimes does in extreme climates. That is, it broke wildly over the city like a piñata.” —Lynn Coady, “The Natural Elements”
I love vivid short stories that make you ache, squirm, and chuckle uncomfortably. Those in Lynn Coady’s Giller-winning collection —Hellgoing— do just that. When reading this book, you’ll often need to come up for air since the experience leaves you breathless. Coady doesn’t ease you into her characters’ lives. Oh no. She creates overwhelming tension for her flawed, disconcerted characters, then she throws you headfirst into their struggles. Just when you fell like these characters are on the brink of a resolution, their stories come to an abrupt end.
Here are two more memorable quotes from Hellgoing:
“It was one of those detonator moments —a conversation that implodes time and space and opens up a kind of portal, like in video games.” —Lynn Coady, “An Otherworld”
“Jane flops herself off Ned like a seal, grunting also like a seal. That’s what she feels like at such times. All torso, no limbs. A long, tapering creature, new and primordial, like something pooped out of something else.” —Lynn Coady, “Wireless”
See what I mean about aching, squirming, and chuckling? Pick up a copy of Hellgoing if you haven’t already. It’s well worth the read.