Stopping for Strangers

Stopping for Strangers

Book - 2011
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Detailing the lives of artists, lovers, brothers, and strangers, this collection of stories acutely probes love and loss, men and women together, and the family ties that bind. A father renews an old artistic rivalry with his dying son; a raucous family gathering ends in tragedy; a quick stop to pick up a hitchhiker begins a chain of events that changes a man's life. Dark yet uplifting, these tales journey to the heart of what matters in the tangled lives of people on the edge of crisis.
Publisher: Montreal : Véhicule Press, 2011.
ISBN: 9781550653205
Branch Call Number: GRIFF
Characteristics: 142 p. ; 22 cm.

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ksoles Nov 23, 2013

About a page into "Stopping For Strangers," the reader becomes acutely aware that Daniel Griffin values economy. The opening story, "Promise," features a man and a child who make a rare visit to the man's brother; it contains little back-story, quick visuals and terse dialogue, which combine to render the tale's final twist extraordinarily chilling.

Griffin's "less is more" philosophy continues throughout the rest of the collection, proving that the fewer words an author uses, the more the reader can imagine and collaborate with the author in discovery. In "The Last Great Works of Alvin Cale," an artist learns that his estranged son has terminal cancer and ultimately performs a shocking act, one to which the reader feels an accomplice. Additionally, the title story joins a brother and sister on a road trip to say goodbye to a dying relative. They pick up a hitchhiker yet somehow end up at his house without him. Griffin leaves final insights in the primed reader's hands.

Griffin’s talent for dialogue shines in "Martin and Lisa" where "X" highlights his ability to speak universally, portraying a young man plagued by doubt and apprehension and raising eternal, unanswerable questions.

An impressive debut from a fine Canadian writer.

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