Synopses & Reviews
Part Dorothy Parker, part José Saramago, with shades of George Orwell, Sheila Heti has arrived on Canada's literary scene a fully formed artist. Balancing wisdom and innocence, joy and foreboding, each story in The Middle Stories leads us to surprising places. A frog doles out sage advice to a plumber infatuated with a princess, a boy falls hopelessly in love with a monkey, and a man with a hat keeps apocalyptic thoughts at bay by resolving to follow a plan that he admits he won't stick to. Globe and Mail critic Russell Smith has described Heti's stories as cryptic fairy tales without morals at the end, but really the morals are in the quality of the telling and in the details disclosed along the way. Look where you weren't going to look, think what you wouldn't have thought, Heti seems to say, and meaning itself gains more meaning and more dimensions. Heti's stories are not what you expect, but why did you expect that anyway?
"The Middle Stories proves Sheila Heti's undeniable skill as a storyteller; her prose is brilliantly crafted and everything about her stories is surprising and yet rings true." (-Hour)
"Heti deadpans moments of extreme horror and extreme beauty in a voice that is morally heedless and frequently hilarious . . . an impressive talent." (-Quill and Quire)
Table of Contents
The princess and the plumber -- Mermaid in the jar -- The Miss and Sylvia and Sam -- The woman who lived in a shoe -- The middleman to Elda -- The fundamental race -- The littlest dumpling -- The favourite monkey -- The giant -- The girl who was blind all the time -- The moon monologue -- The party at her place, with her piano -- The girl who planted flowers -- Eleanor -- The accident -- Mr. Jones's first outing -- A few adventures of the young fornicator -- What changed -- Janis and Marcus -- The raspberry bush -- Frames from Christianity -- A bench for Marianne and Todd -- The poet and the novelist as roommates -- The sor of woman Freeman loved -- The night of Rory -- The man from out of town -- The little old lady and the little old man -- The house at the end of the lane -- Cows and bread -- The man with the hat.