Full of Lit: The Return of a Master: Douglas Glover's Savage Love
May 22, 2014
Douglas Glover deals with love of any and every kind in his latest collection of stories, Savage Love, published by Goose Lane Editions in 2013. Steven W. Beattie declared this the best book he read in 2013 and Chatelaine says Glover's stories are "wildly creative." If you need more convincing, it's your lucky day--get a taste of Savage Love with the story "Shameless," included in Full of Lit, our Short Story Month anthology.
Douglas Glover deals with love of any and every kind in his latest collection of stories, Savage Love, published by Goose Lane Editions in 2013. Steven W. Beattie declared this the best book he read in 2013 and Chatelaine says Glover’s stories are “wildly creative”. If you need more convincing, it’s your lucky day – get a taste of Savage Love with the story “Shameless,” included in Full of Lit, our epub anthology in celebration of Short Story Month. Get your copy of Full of Lit now! Keep reading to find out more about Douglas Glover and Savage Love.
Glover skewers every conventional notion we’ve ever held about that cultural-emotional institution of love we are instructed to hold dear in his latest collection, Savage Love. Peopled with forensic archaeologists, horoscope writers, dental hygienists, and even butchers, Glover’s stories are of our time yet timeless; spectacular fables that stand in any era, any civilization. Whether writing about sexually ambiguous librarians or desperadoes most despicable, Glover exposes the humanity lurking behind our masks, the perversities that underlie our actions. Savage Love heralds the return of a master, with laugh-out-loud stories of the best kind, often completely unexpected, rife with moments of tragedy or horror.
We asked the author… Douglas Glover
Tell us what your collection is about in 140 characters or less. Savage Love is about desire, obsession, weddings, the wilderness outside and the wilderness within. It's also funny.
Do you have a favourite story in your collection? One that gave you more trouble than the others?
I don't play the favourites game. Would you pick a favourite among your children? Every story in the book has its own particular charms for me. And then I like the book as a whole, the way it rhymes (all the weddings, for example) and the way it flickers with irony so that you never quite know what the author is thinking. And, really, none of the stories was particularly troublesome. The troublesome ones didn't get into the book. Perhaps the most intriguing thing about the book for me is that I seem to be moving away from first person narration toward third and third person multiple. I am quite happy with huge numbers of characters and plots I manage to pack into a short space in, say, "Uncle Boris up in a Tree" and "Shameless." But I hasten to add that I don't think of them as my favourites, just vectors, a direction in which I seem to be moving.
Did you consciously decide to be a short story writer -- or did the format choose you?
Well, I'm not just a short story writer, am I? There are four novels, three books of non-fiction, and lots of journalistic pieces scattered in my wake. Even a couple of poems. I have a lot of forms to choose from when I decide to play. I seem to alternate books of stories or essays with longer forms. I find stories helpful for experimenting with technique and structure. They require less investment in terms of time. So you can afford to fail. Like many people I actually started out writing a novel when I was very young. I think I managed about 15 pages and then thought perhaps I would try a short story instead. But I didn't know how to write either a novel or a short story at first. In other words, I didn't pick the form and it didn't pick me. I kind of back into everything in life.
Who is your favourite short story writer and why?
Again, I don't play the favourites game. Literary crushes come and go. When I was very young, my stories were Hemingway pastiches. The way I feel about Hemingway now is a bit like the embarrassment you feel when you run into the girl or boy you kissed in high school. I am working my way out of an obsession with Witold Gombrowicz right now (and writing an essay about him). He has that story collection, his first book, Bacacay. I admire the loopy strangeness and obsessiveness of his constructions. I've written essays about Alice Munro and Mark Anthony Jarman stories. That's a fair indicator of deep admiration, though they are quite different writers. When I teach, my default texts are stories by Charles D'Ambrosio, Bobbie Ann Mason, Annie Proulx, James Joyce, Carlos Fuentes, Julio Cortazar and Richard Ford. But that doesn't make them my favourites, just useful for teaching form. They are all very good at plot, image patterning, thematic passages, character thought, and juggling motifs. I admire a lot of others, too many to name.
What makes short stories so different (besides the obvious) than other writing formats?
Well, actually, it's the obvious things that are different. Compared, say, to novels, stories are kind of short, right? So they have a different rhythm. I'm not sure how different they are other than that. Most novels have subplots; stories don't necessarily need subplots (but sometimes they have them anyway). Some of my stories have (to me) vast numbers of characters and subplots. In a novel, you step out the plot action, break each plot segment down into a series of smaller steps. In a story, you have roughly three steps, unless it's an exceptionally long story. Otherwise, most narrative techniques work well in either form.
What would be the title of your memoir, if you were ever to write one?
I have written one, a 10,000-word memoir called "The Familiar Dead." It's in my book of essays Notes Home from a Prodigal Son.
Douglas Glover was recipient of the 2006 Writers' Trust of Canada Timothy Findley Award for his body of work. His bestselling novel Elle won the Governor General's Award and was a finalist for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. A Guide to Animal Behaviour was a finalist for the 1991 Governor General's Award, and 16 Categories of Desire was shortlisted for the 2000 Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Award.
Glover's stories have been frequently anthologized, notably in The Best American Short Stories, Best Canadian Stories, and The New Oxford Book of Canadian Stories. He edited Best Canadian Stories from 1996 to 2006. He is the author of three works of literary criticism, including The Enamoured Knight, a recent book on Don Quixote. In addition, Glover publishes the online literary magazine Numéro Cinq.
Born and raised in southwestern Ontario, Douglas Glover now lives near Saratoga Springs, New York. He is currently Writer-in-Residence at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton.
Goose Lane Editions is Canada's oldest independent publisher. For more than 50 years, we’ve believed in the power of words to inspire, to change, to enlighten. We believe that the pen can be more powerful than the sword and that ideas writ large are the most important resource on this small planet. We believe that stories both show who we are and who we might become—one word at a time.
Thank you to Douglas & Goose Lane for playing along with us for Short Story Month. Get your copy of Full of Lit by clicking the buy button below. Want to know who else contributed to Full of Lit? Find out here.
Edited from the original post, published on the LPG blog
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