Lynn Coady has a knack for insecurity. It’s part of all our psyches, but it is hard to get right in fiction. Often writers either lay it on too thick, or present unbelievably self-assured protagonists—brave people doing brave things bravely.
Coady bull’s-eyes it, whether portraying a drunk obsessed with not being “that kind of drunk,” a paranoid woman in a virtual police state, a cult-surviving memoirist, feminists sensitive to flippant fatherly comments, sadomasochistic divorcees in love, or the father of a teenaged girl. We feel the characters’ angst, their uncertainty, and the way their fear of being perceived negatively pushes them, often in the wrong direction: Hellbound.
These stories feel like intense, ethereal dreams of betrayal, where the dastardly act is palpable even if unseen, unknown and undefined. Like dreams, they are rarely resolved, leaving the reader pondering, having felt something powerful, but uncertain what the hell just happened.
by Lynn Coady
$19.95, paperback, 240 pp.
House of Anansi, July 2013
Reviewed from an advance reading copy