First Fiction Fridays: What I Want to Tell Goes Like This by Matt Rader

November 7, 2014

What I Want to Tell Goes Like This is an extraordinary first short story collection from Matt Rader. Called “strong, original, and new” by literary great Jack Hodgins, and described as “eclectic, idiosyncratic, surprising, completely compelling” by Michael Crummey, these stories demonstrate a command of tension, grit and mystery that makes them a pleasure to read. 

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What:

What I Want to Tell Goes Like This (Nightwood Editions, 2014)

Who:

Matt Rader has written three books of poems, including Miraculous Hours (Nightwood Editions)—a finalist for the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award and long-listed for the ReLit Award. He is the 2014 recipient of the Canada Council for the Arts’ Joseph S. Stauffer Prize for literature. Rader lives in Kelowna, BC.

Why You Need to Read This Now:

What I Want to Tell Goes Like This is an extraordinary first short story collection from Matt Rader. Called “strong, original, and new” by literary great Jack Hodgins, and described as “eclectic, idiosyncratic, surprising, completely compelling” by Michael Crummey, these stories demonstrate a command of tension, grit and mystery that makes them a pleasure to read.

The stories take place on Vancouver Island, BC, near where Matt grew up. They alternate between historical stories that re-imagine moments in the area’s turbulent labour history—such as his story about the controversial assassination of infamous union activist Albert "Ginger" Goodwin—and present-day stories set within the contemporary working class of that same region. For instance, one story is set at the same lake near Cumberland, BC, where Goodwin was killed, except that it takes place a century later and centres on two boys’ act of sexual violence against a young girl.

The juxtaposition of the two time periods serves to draw attention to how the echoes of the brutality and realities of the earlier timeframe continue to manifest themselves in the lives of his contemporary characters—as one of his stories says, “as if history were looking [them] in the eyes.” The result is an artful, multi-layered collection of dark, intriguing tales in which danger never feels far away.

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Thank you Nightwood Editions for sharing this book with us! 


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