This week Cailin, our Programming Assistant, finished The Dead Are More Visible by Steven Heighton, published in May by Knopf Canada. We are so happy that Steven Heighton will be joining us at this year’s The Word On The Street! Don’t miss him in the Great Books Marquee.
About the Book
An astoundingly original and tightly curated collection of stories from the award-winning author of Every Lost Country and Afterlands.
These 11 profoundly moving and finely crafted stories encapsulate wildly divergent themes of love and loss, containment and exclusion. In the title story, a parks & rec worker faces an assailant who does not leave the altercation intact. A medical researcher and his claustrophobic fiancée are locked in the trunk of their car after a failed carjacking (the thief can’t drive standard). A young woman enters a pharmaceutical trial in the outer reaches of suburbia and slips between sleeping and waking with increasingly alarming ease. Pairing the cultural acuity of Lost in Translation with the compassion and reach of The World According to Garp, Heighton breathes new life into the short story, a genre that is finally coming into its own.
Q & A with Cailin
1) What drew you to this book?
My The Word On The Street colleagues are big fans of Steven Heighton, and this book was one of the first ones they recommended to me when I joined the team.
2) Did you enjoy reading it?
I did enjoy reading it. The stories feature very diverse characters, settings and plots. It was hard to take a break between stories, because I was intrigued about where I would be taken next. Luckily, I read most of it over the Canada Day long weekend, so I could devote my brain to the journey. And devote my body to a deck chair. Great combination.
Although the stories are all quite different, athleticism was a common thread in the collection. I’m not a great athlete myself (see my aforementioned devotion to chairs), but I was quite moved by the bond formed between two boxers in ‘A Right Like Yours’, and the reflection on life and aging a cross-country runner undertakes in the story ‘Journeymen’. Heighton combines technical details of sports and the human body under pressure with emotional insights in a very skillful manner.
3) Would you recommend it?
I certainly would recommend The Dead Are More Visible. I think I will also look into reading Heighton’s previous works too. Way to recommend literature, The Word On The Street colleagues!