Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Stopping for Strangers

Stopping for Strangers / Daniel Griffin
Montreal: Vehicule Press, c2011.
142 p.

I loved this collection, and so I am at a loss as to why I've taken so long to talk about it here. But I have mentioned this author, and one of the stories that appears in this collection, before: in a review of Coming Attractions 08 -- can it really have been that long ago?

In any case, this is a collection well worth seeking out. There are ten stories in total, and each of them was carefully crafted, grounded in character, and are dense with Griffin's particular voice. He is a gifted writer, but what I also enjoyed about this collection was the slant perspective he has; he seems to see things, to write things, slightly differently than I'd expected. His vision is an individual one, focusing on the dynamics of relationships -- often family dynamics.

"Promise", the story that I'd read previously, is included, and it is a great one, illuminating the gap that has widened between two adult brothers.

"The Last Great Works of Alvin Cale" reveals the fraught relationship between a father and son, as the son has surpassed the father in artistic ability and general success in life. But then the son, Alvin, dies, and the father takes his last paintings...

These two stories were the ones that stayed with me the most, but the whole collection made for a satisfying reading experience. As I was looking into this book again, thinking about what I wanted to share, I ended up rereading long bits of many of the stories. I'd recommend it if you have any young, hip male relatives that you have to find a gift for this Xmas -- don't think you could go far wrong with this one. (of course, all of we older, regular readers don't need to be cajoled -- just know it will be of interest to most of us anyhow)

If you'd like a more in-depth and descriptive view of this book, just check out the lengthy, detailed and informative reviews by the ever-reliable Kerry of Pickle Me This, and the prolific Steph at Bella's Bookshelves.

You can listen to the story "Promise" from this collection over at the author's website; it is quite a story so do give it a try.


  1. This sounds like a wonderful collection of short fiction mainly about family dynamics by a new-to-me author. Instead of "chic lit" you might call this "hip lit". Very nice, concise review.

    1. It's good, solid writing - not trendy, or painfully 'hip' - and engaging despite also being quite 'manly' in focus (something that usually doesn't catch my attention)

  2. I will have to go check out the story at her website. Nice review!

    1. His website is worth checking out - lots to learn :)


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