Review of Devon Code’s Involuntary Bliss

Throughout Code’s work, characters—usually young males—latch onto codices, texts or cultural relics out of the past in order to graft some measure of meaning onto their lives. They go in search of designs for living and often find them in unusual places. It might be chess, or music, or, as in the case of Code’s 2010 Journey Prize winning story, “Uncle Oscar,” croquet. His characters are in search of totems as well as shibboleths—that is, proof of their own identity, and a means of locating others who share their beliefs.

— I reviewed Devon Code’s novel, Involuntary Bliss, for the Literary Review of Canada

The Puritan discusses The Utility of Boredom

A lot of baseball literature gets bogged down in numbers and abstract statistics. Writers often forget what the game feels like. Forbes doesn’t. Perhaps what makes his book successful is that he approaches it with the same measured composure as a player does the game. Boredom and excitement coexist elegantly in The Utility of Boredom, just as they do upon the baseball field. In Forbes’ estimation, it’s an antithetical but necessary relationship. And, in baseball, he locates their ideal synthesis.

— Joseph Thomas

The Puritan, continuing their generous support of the work of Canadian writers and independent publishers, shines a light on The Utility of Boredom in “‘Makes You Want to Talk About Baseball:’ A Conversation on Andrew Forbes’s The Utility of Boredom,” by Thomas, Myra Bloom, and E. Martin Nolan

Monkeys, Fools

Leventhal’s endings routinely devastate. In her last lines plot construction and humour step out of the way to give us some unfussy, unalloyed truth, like a shot on the chin, or a boot to the heart. They are jarring and starkly beautiful. They favour truth and poignancy over the temptation to tie up all loose ends. They leave characters holding the bag, or on the precipice of a life choice, or offhandedly, involuntarily revealing some dire truth about themselves.

On Anna Leventhal’s story collection Sweet Affliction, for All Lit Up