Saturday, July 11, 2009

Ibi Kaslik on Alexandra Leggat's Animal

There's a great review by Ibi Kaslik of Alexandra Leggat's brilliant new short story collection, Animal, in the Globe and Mail today. The final paragraphs sum it up nicely:

Troubling and deep, these quickly unfolding stories are elliptically drawn, tense with action and dark humour. Leggat is a shape-shifting writer: The styles and narrators in this collection are ever changing, yet the stories are connected by Leggat's quirky eye for viscerally striking detail. She provides just enough imagery to draw the reader inside these very individual worlds, while also preserving a carefully constructed sense of the absurd. It is as though the author never wants the reader to become too intimate or comfortable in the primal and transient world that is both grotesque and beautiful in its brutality. As one fisherman tells another in Mandible, "Nature's fucking frightening and it'll only let you in so far."

On the cover of Animal, there is a drawing of an opossum holding an amorphous animal in its hand; whether the animal is holding its own offspring or has stolen the fetus from another animal's nest is ambiguous; whether the animal is hunting or being hunted is also unclear. Deceptively simple, like Leggat's stories, it is an arresting and atavistic image, reminiscent of a picture from an ancient book of fables. The cover of Leggat's third story collection is significant on many levels, but mostly because it highlights the way this unique and gifted writer has taken an old form and made it new again.

To read the whole review, click here.


Kailana said...

Looks interesting! Thanks for the heads up!

ds said...

"A shape-shifting writer"--like that! Also one I'm not familiar with. Will have to make her acquaintance. Thank you!