These linked stories explore the connections between us – whether come by coincidentally or born of obsession – as people living and dying and almost dying and getting babies together, all in the most surprising, often humourous ways.
As in his story of a diver with secrets stowed in his basement, Ruddock sometimes swings a metaphor like a maul. At other times he tickles with it like a feather as in the story of a sweet boy of misfortune named Peach. Like many of Ruddock’s characters, Peach observes with a gentle regret “the easy times that a real family seemed to have, without even trying.”
Ruddock writes his characters with great compassion – cares for them like Peach’s foster parents, with practical tenderness – but he’s not one of them and tells us so in many ways, especially in prose poems between the stories. Here, he wields his literary brushes to paint lyrical observation like a trained artist might insert tiny abstracts in an exhibition of folk art canvases.
How Loveta Got Her Baby
by Nicholas Ruddock
$19.95, paperback, 207 pp.
Breakwater Books, March 2014