The Museum at the End of the World

By (author): John Metcalf

In this, his first book of fiction since Adult Entertainment, a New York Times Notable Book of 1990, legendary Canadian writer and editor John Metcalf is back—in full comic force—with a linked collection of stories and novellas. Set in Nashville, Memphis, New Orleans, and Ottawa, these tales span the life of writer Robert Forde and his wife Sheila. Playing with various forms of comedy throughout, Metcalf paints a portrait of 20th century literary life with levity, satire, and unsuspecting moments of emotional depth. Destined to be heralded as one of the most important books of the year, The Museum at the End of the World secures Metcalf’s position among Canada’s greatest literary figures.


John Metcalf

John Metcalf has been one of the leading editors in Canada for more than five decades, editing more than two hundred books over this time, including eighteen volumes of the Best Canadian Stories anthology. He is also the author of more than a dozen works of fiction and nonfiction, including Finding Again the World: Selected Stories, Vital Signs: Collected Novellas, An Aesthetic Underground: A Literary Memoir, and The Museum at the End of the World. Senior Fiction Editor at Biblioasis, he lives in Ottawa with his wife, Myrna.

Caroline Adderson is a Vancouver-based author of five novels and two collections of short stories. Her work has received numerous award nominations including two Commonwealth Writers’ Prizes, the Governor General’s Literary Award, and the Rogers’ Trust Fiction Prize. Her awards include three BC Book Prizes, three CBC Literary Awards, and a National Magazine Award Gold Medal for Fiction.

Kristyn Dunnion has authored six books, most recently Stoop City (Biblioasis, 2020). Her short fiction appears in Best Canadian Stories 2020, Toronto 2033, Orca, and the Tahoma Literary Review. Dunnion was raised in Essex County, the southern-most tip of Canada, and currently lives in Toronto.

Cynthia Flood’s stories have won numerous awards, including The Journey Prize and a National Magazine Award. Her novel Making A Stone Of The Heart was nominated for the City of Vancouver Book Prize, and her acclaimed short story collections include Red Girl Rat Boy (2013) which was shortlisted for the BC Book Prizes’ fiction award. She lives in Vancouver’s West End.

Shaena Lambert’s fiction has been nominated for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize, and the Frank O’Connor Award for the Short Story, and have appeared in publications including Best Canadian Stories and The Journey Prize Anthology. Lambert lives in Vancouver.

Elise Levine is the author of Say This: Two Novellas, This Wicked Tongue, the novels Blue Field and Requests and Dedications, and the story collection Driving Men Mad. Originally from Toronto, she lives in Baltimore, MD, where she teaches in the MA in Writing program at Johns Hopkins University.

Kathy Page is the author of eight novels, including Dear Evelyn, winner of the 2018 Rogers Writers’ Trust Award for Fiction and the Butler Book Prize. Her short fiction collections, Paradise & Elsewhere (2014) and The Two of Us (2016), were both nominated for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. Born in the UK, she moved with her family to Salt Spring Island in 2001.


Praise for The Museum at the End of the World

“Sharp and funny.”—Publishers Weekly

“These four related fictions follow a British boy’s coming-of-age and his older self enduring a world that rarely lives up to his standards… Brings to mind variously Wodehouse, Waugh, [and] Kingsley Amis? This is a book that could restore anyone’s faith in the pleasure of reading.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred)

“Metcalf is a gifted satirist and very, very funny…But [he] is much more than simply a jester, poking fun at the nonsensical world around him: he is —beneath all of the grumbling and gruff— a sentimentalist. For these stories have, at their core, a tenderness, a sadness, that is, at times, heart-rending.”—The Toronto Star

“Metcalf’s humour follows the tradition of Wodehouse, Waugh and Amis (Kingsley, not Martin)… it’s never dull to read Metcalf. He is such a gifted stylist that you can just let yourself be taken by his sentences.”—The National Post

“Metcalf is one of Canada’s most heralded practitioners of the short story, and Museum assembles work…which revels enticingly in the texture of the English language. He excels at both the wondrous…and the grotesque”—Maclean’s

“Ottawa’s literary lion has hit a sweet spot.”—The Ottawa Citizen

“If you yearn for comedy worthy of Waugh, or Powell, or Wodehouse, relish his savage wit. If you suspect that our culture has easily forgotten and carelessly dismissed things of real value, let Metcalf remind you what they are. The Museum at the End of the World is a wise book written by a master of short fiction, a celebration of the painstaking, exhilarating business of making art.”—Guy Vanderhaeghe

“Metcalf is best when he pokes bitchy fun at Canadian universities and the literary scene.”—Winnipeg Free Press

“Metcalf draws Forde as an observer, a noticer of life, as a passionate stylist and devoted reader of his old heroes, and a great listener and absorber of the tales and lives recounted to him by others. But Forde’s tragedy, perhaps, is that he lacks insight, in a way that Metcalf does not.”—Hamilton Review of Books


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272 Pages
8.25in * 5.25in * 1.00in


September 27, 2016





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FICTION / Short Stories

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