I haven’t had all that much spare time this semester, but when I did, I would be reading. I’ve recently fallen in love with the short story style of writing. Two authors I’ve read this semester were Rob Grey, one of the professors here on campus who wrote Crisp (wonderfully written short stories), and Jordan Stewart, a local Saint John writer who wrote a collection of surreal, provocative short stories called Greetings! from Gumdrop Mountain.
I had received the book as a Valentine’s Day gift, and it made my heart sing. That is one gift I will always respond well to: books. It was purchased at Scheherazade Books & Music in Saint John (apparently, this book is difficult to locate in stores). Excited, I began reading the short stories right away — and burned through the collection at a pace that even I was surprised with.
Stewart has a very interesting voice, unlike anything I had read before. His short stories (and they were all very short) seemed to have a poetic element to them, which I found very intriguing. Each story was different and unique, and the voice slightly different as well, staying only similar enough to know that each story (if you didn’t have an author’s name) was written by the same author. The photo to the left is the colour-version of the photo in the book, the note ending, “This one time, he went camping and almost got stepped on by a moose”. Absolutely comedic – like his stories.
My favourite stories in the collection are “A Month of Saturdays” (where the name of this column comes from!), “She is 9/11” (a story about a man following a woman through the grocery store), and “Eric, Who is a Robot” (a story about an incoming apocalypse, focused on a young man and his robot friend). For a story about the end of the world, it ends on such a beautiful image, one that I won’t reveal for any of those who are interested in purchasing it.
Here’s the link to the publisher’s website, where you can purchase the book and can’t find it in stores. The review provided on the site gives some good ideas as to what the stories are. Somewhat vulgar and sharp, definitely not a children’s book despite the “cutesey” title of the collection. The stories are definitely very adult — probably not good bedtime stories for your young’uns. A quote of the review pulled from the website says, “If you’re on the lookout for a small, hilarious, irreverent and often surreal collection of short stories, Saint John’s Jordan Stewart has a book worth your notice”.
For anyone who is looking for an intriguing read, I will now always recommend this book.