The Bukowski Agency - Standing on Richards

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80,000 words hardcover
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Canada: Penguin, May 2004

ABOUT GEORGE BOWERING

George Bowering (Photo: Danielle Schaub)
(Photo: Danielle Schaub)

George Bowering is a major figure in Canadian literature, and has written over forty books. He has won the Governor General's Award twice: once in 1969 for poetry, for the books Rocky Mountain Foot and The Gangs of Kosmos; and again in 1980 for fiction, for Burning Water. In 2003, he was appointed Canada's first Poet Laureate.

Standing on Richards

by George Bowering

FROM CANADA'S FIRST POET LAUREATE, AND TWO-TIME GOVERNOR GENERAL'S AWARD-WINNER, COMES A COLLECTION OF NEW SHORT-FICTION THAT, BY TURNS, DELIGHTS, ENGAGES, ENTERTAINS AND CHALLENGES READERS, EVEN AS THE STORIES PUSH THE BOUNDARIES OF FICTION

Standing on Richards coverFilled with oddball characters, Bowering's mini-narratives explore the awe and mystery of human relationships. In the title story, "Standing on Richards," a disillusioned English professor ensconces himself on a seedy corner in downtown Vancouver. There, amongst women selling their bodies, he tries to look intellectually seductive in the hopes of selling his mind.

In "Old Bottles," a woman recounts how her neighbour cut down his lilac hedge only to replace it with a fence made of empty wine bottles. She thinks the man is crazy, but nonetheless finds his bottle fence strangely appealing. In another story, entitles simply "A Short Story," Bowering openly challenges the conventions of realist storytelling and plays with readers' expectations. Throughout the story we are encouraged to question the method of storytelling: "By the way," the reader is asked, "have you noticed that when the narrator speaks in the first person, he makes you the second person?"

There is remarkable magic and daring in these fifteen stories. Playful and intriguing, Bowering's fictions immediately seduce readers with their humour, narrative power, and humanity, even as they extend the limits of fiction. Intelligent, funny and enigmatic, they will resonate in your mind long after the experience of reading them.

PRAISE FOR GEORGE BOWERING

“… he has a mischievous streak that can't help but call attention to what he is doing . At the same time, Bowering's self-awareness is offset by a disarmingly casual style that, on the surface, seems as natural as breathing.”  — SHAWN CONNER, AMAZON.CA

“Enough irony, subversion, and playfulness for any postmodern fan.”  — BOOKS IN CANADA

“Bowering continues to be committed to 'pushing the envelope' at every turn of phrase.”  — THE VANCOUVER SUN

“In Bowering's B.C., Bowering's tale is anything but conventional.... [He] has produced a riveting retelling of events with all the racism, hypocrisies, lunatics, and charlatans left in.”  — MACLEAN'S MAGAZINE

“In Egotists and Autocrats ... George Bowering has written an elegant, witty, penetrating, cynical, and ironic history of Canada seen through the lives of its prime ministers. Bowering’s tone is engagingly conversational and opinionated.”  — TORONTO STAR

 

 

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