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Anne Perdue's characters face a tough, unforgiving world in her first collection of short fiction. Writing from a litany of perspectives — an overworked suburban dad, a frustrated couple renovating their first home, and an alcoholic grandmother — Perdue builds gritty characters who are pathetically funny, keenly aware of their own flaws, and sometimes so realistic it's painful to read on.
You feel a series of soft blows to the gut, a bare-bones pathos emerging simply from events.
Riffs of screwball comedy give way to hurled accusations and exchanges of seething rancour, building to a spectacular closing battle in the crumbling ruins. Here and elsewhere, Perdue's strong character work supplies a nuance and authenticity...
The Globe and Mail
... Perdue has commendable writing chops. It takes a special kind of artist to cuss like nobody’s business and still sound smart. Junot Diaz manages it, Mordecai Richler, too. Add Perdue to that list. When she is not crafting sensual metaphors and provocative imagery, Perdue drops F-bombs with aplomb. Moreover, each story is meticulously crafted and well structured.
Maple Tree Literary Supplement
Toronto’s multicultural character is also present, although Perdue’s main characters, like John, the struggling photographer father in Theories of Relativity, are generally “Anglo-Saxon — not exactly an endangered or a tortured species, but a disposable one.” ...
Perdue conveys the unconscious nature of much Canadian racism with an apt metaphor: “Sally’d been driving in the dark. All the way home.”
Beyond the lovably tragic protagonists that people Perdue's stories, the city setting becomes an endearing character. Toronto is subtly evoked with passing references to the Pope's visit to Downsview, drives along the Danforth and the former Winchester Pub now replaced by a Tim Hortons. With these brief mentions to Hogtown events and landmarks, the characters become familiar. They feel like old friends or the kind of person you might meet at the local watering hole down the street.
... these stories also give us splendid moments of release, moments in which the passion of inner life mirrors the stories’ explosive and painful physical action. Perdue's stories are edgy and fresh, providing just the right dose of sympathy and satire.
Arch Literary Journal
... I’m a Registered Nurse Not a Whore succeeds, with subtly striking imagination, in scoping the very bizarre details of human flaw. With each story, the author takes readers on natural nosedives and unpredictable turns...
The Toronto Quarterly
I love this book, absolutely devoured it, which is fitting for a collection whose stories are larger than bite-sized. These are longer-than-short stories, with twists and turns and plenty of room for depth, and they’re so well-paced, they read up fast.
Pickle Me This
She’s an observant, clever writer and her characters — sometimes aged, often corpulent, frequently drunken, always frustrated with the world — bloom with comic potential. But their treatment is at once satirical and sensitive, slyly humorous but never mocking.
Joyland Fiction Scout Board