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Fidelityby Michael Redhill
"[A] hushed but stupendously accomplished story collection....Redhill's plaintive but unsentimental tales, which combine an almost ruthless economy with a delicacy of touch, probe good but broken people plagued by the recognition of their own profound inadequacies.... Ambiguous, undramatic, attentive to detail...these stories will inevitably be described as 'quiet.' But make no mistake: every one will leave the reader shaken." Benjamin Schwarz, The Atlantic Monthly (read the entire Atlantic Monthly review)
Synopses & Reviews
From acclaimed poet and Giller-nominated novelist Michael Redhill comes Fidelity, a subtle but searing collection of short fiction.
By turns brooding, strange, and funny, Fidelity probes the blandishments of temptation, the swooning submission to concupiscence, the illusory redemption of desire, the ambivalence at the heart of the most intimate trust, and, most importantly, the irony that when we betray, we betray ourselves first.
His characters are not monsters, or really even sinners. Their vulnerabilities are our own: a business-trip affair leaves a man changed in ways he cannot anticipate; a young girl's sexuality inflicts unexpected wounds on her family; the young amanuensis of a 156-year-old Civil War veteran tries to defend his hero from accusations of desertion; a father of four, pressured by his wife to undergo a vasectomy, gradually learns that he is capable of infidelity when he contemplates the intolerable loss of his virility.
Spell-binding and crackling with an unflinching attention to emotional detail, Fidelity looks boldly at the transgressions of desire that seduce, and sometimes break, body and soul.
"The twists and turns of Redhill's marvelous stories are not unusual, and that's what makes them so wonderful--these are experiences, sometimes devastating and cruel, that could very well be the stories of anyone with a family or relationship....Richly nuanced, beautifully composed vignettes." Booklist
"The vulnerabilities of Redhill's characters are our own: a business-trip affair leaves a man humbled in ways he could not have anticipated; a young lover discovers she does not understand what connects people to each other; a traveling salesman, in trying to remain friends with his ex-wife, keeps breaking her heart; and a teenager's shocking sexuality inflicts wounds on her family. With his subtle wit and unflinching attention to emotional detail, Redhill proves once again to be a writer of considerable humanity and insight." A. L. Kennedy
"Fidelity lives up to Redhill's own high standards. These are wonderful stories, polished, mature, fresh." Quill & Quire
"There's no doubt, from the evidence of these short stories, that Redhill is already among the best practitioners of this exacting art." Philip Marchand, Toronto Star
"A pitch-perfect, sometimes quietly devastating book....Redhill is that rarest of...writers: one able to offer a fully fledged narrative in just a few pages, as well as a sort of Munroesque attention to detail." Frank Moher, National Post
"Michael Redhill writes extraordinarily well....Reading Fidelity, I think of Jonathan Franzen and of American chroniclers such as Paula Fox, whose 1970s novels are among Franzen's exemplars, and of Richard Yates's Revolutionary Road." Greg Hollingshead, Globe and Mail
"Redhill shows a consistent flair for finding just the right tone and detail to accurately represent his characters' emotional states....A collection that subverts expectations even while it convinces us that this is life as it's really lived." Ian McGillis, Montreal Gazette
"Redhill's book, not unlike the later stories of Henry James, is a work of fiction in which thoughts speak more loudly than words and the distinction between art and life is the story's real mystery." The San Francisco Chronicle
Redhill conjures up many unexpected twists in ten richly textured stories that range from the darkness of family silences to the hilarity of people caught in their own snares. With his unflinching attention to emotional detail, Redhill proves once again to be "a writer of considerable humanity and insight" (A.L. Kennedy).
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