The HSW Literary Agency


Another day, another rave

If your Saturday routine doesn’t include poring over the Globe and Mail with a cup of coffee, you may have missed the review of Darcie Friesen Hossack‘s Commonwealth Prize-nominated Mennonites Don’t Dance.

Darcie Friesen Hossack Mennonite short storiesDarcie is praised for her deft touch and her willingness to take risks. Writing of the story “Ashes,” the Globe reviewer gushes that “the drama is both bloody and admirably understated,” but as “Ice House” shows, Darcie tackles less covert themes and tropes with similar aplomb. “A fresh calf’s heart still pumping on a butcher’s block is the sort of symbol to defeat even veteran storytellers,” the Globe writes. ”Hossack sails through the metaphoric risk, placing the heart at her sleight-of-hand climax–the pulsing object gruesomely mesmerizing, then cascading with retrospective meanings.” Still, the ultimate payoff, according to the Globe review, comes in the collection’s final story, “Poor Nella Pea,” which is “structurally bold, psychologically intricate and finally stunning in its emotional wallop.”

The reviewer’s overall impressions are equally positive:

There’s an unfussy purity of expression here, and of narrative control, that sometimes recalls the short fiction of Alistair MacLeod. Images come cleanly to the mind’s eye while the prose itself recedes. The other MacLeodian element is Hossack’s stealthy way with emotion. She never tells you how to feel. When you do find your heart opening to these characters, it rises from their authenticity, and a sure authorial hand with the interplay of surprise and inevitability.

Earlier reviews–namely, the one published by the Winnipeg Free Press–drew comparisons between Darcie’s work and the writings of fellow Mennonite-Canadian writers, such as Miriam Toews and Patrick Friesen. We’re sure Darcie is just as pleased by this latest parallel.

The full Globe and Mail review of Mennonites Don’t Dance is available online.

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