the bad canuck

I am trying to read one of those books you're supposed to read.

You know, the kind of book that makes the Globe and Mail's weekly lists, the kind of book that cracks the Gillers....

The kind of book you just keep wanting to put down?

I feel like if Charlotte Gill's Ladykiller and I were dating, then we would need a break. Which is silly, because our dates have been so short. It's almost as if we weren't really dating at all.

But it's not the book, really. It's me.

The thing is, I joke about my short attention span (bunny!), but really, I'm a little too OCD for short stories. I want to be drawn in by characters. I want to know everything about their hopes, their mistakes, their demise or their happy endings.

I can't deal with lonely snapshots of unhappiness.

(Example: She can't see the light in anything. She finds nothing funny. She never did. He wants to feed her a bloody steak in small bites. He wants to lay her out under a tropical sun. He wants to carry her into the bedroom and peel the clothes away. He feels like covering his wife and injecting her with happiness. If only it were transferable, like cash or body heat, this thing that he has that she doesn't. The average contentment she jealously despises, that makes her hate him along with the rest of the world. -- p. 42, from the short story Hush)

Sure, I recognize the innate poetry.

And I can always appreciate the poetry of melancholy.

But I need the depth of a novel. I like to think I need it in my own writing, and I'm coming round to the realization I need it in what I'm reading.

In Hush, I want to know what made Patty start to hate Brian. I want to know if Brian hates Patty or if he's just mirroring her emotions. I want to know more, more, more.

Even if I love this line, from the first story, You Drive: He said sexy things and hurtful things, and the trouble was that she lived and died by what fell out of his mouth. (p. 11)

Sing it, sister.

Just, you know, for longer than fifty pages.

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