TO PURCHASE THIS BOOK: WIDE WORLD IN CELEBRATION AND SORROW: ACTS OF KAMIKAZEE FICTION by Leon Rooke. $19.95, 272 pages.
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"The 20 pieces that make up Wide World in Celebration and Sorrow: Acts of Kamikaze Fiction could be considered a kind of literary tasting menu for those unfamiliar with Rooke’s oeuvre... and many of Rooke’s signature registers — the absurdist humour, the literary and philosophical allusiveness, the sudden violence — are on display [and...] interact with each other as readily as with a reader." —National Post

Subversive, edgy, and wildly entertaining, Leon Rooke is a dynamic storyteller. In this superb collection are gathered his quintessential acts of kamikaze fiction, snapshots rich with imagination, as he peels back the skin of social convention and embraces the chaos of life: an assassin who murders the words in your memory; Egi Balducchi who is either a recording angel or a mad old man with a wheelbarrow, and Egi’s daughter, Frannie, who may just be a gentle two-bit hooker, or the Virgin herself; Lap the Dog who escapes gunshot and poison, and then heads cross-country to find human survivors; Gonzales Manuel who makes his blundering way in and out of marriage beds and trouble; the philosopher Heidegger appears three times, to face his wife’s contempt, the torments of an ageless craniologist, and a malevolent cat; an Indian Chief who is denied his professorship at Yale when he turns up for the ceremony with a black princess on his armŠ and more, so much moreŠ All leaving the reader to wonder: can these characters really inhabit the same world? Yes, no, maybe, and why not? is the answerŠ Wide World in Celebration and Sorrow is an evocative short story collection that is wild with laughter, confronting pathos, rage and humour in ways that only Rooke’s writing can approach.

Leon Rooke has published over 30 books, has been recognized with a Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction and a W.O. Mitchell Prize, and is a Member of the Order of Canada for his generous mentorship to emerging writers. Rooke is also the founding Artistic Director of the Eden Mills Literary Festival.

 


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