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Digital Subscriptions > Quill & Quire > October 2017 > Dos and don’ts

Dos and don’ts

Two collections of short fiction offer differing takes on the contemporary human condition


Things Not to Do

Jessica Westhead Cormorant Books

Don’t Tell Me What to Do

Dina Del Bucchia Arsenal Pulp Press

THE ANXIETIES and disillusionments of modern life seem to be at the core of most contemporary short-fiction collections. So it is little surprise that the similarly titled Things Not to Do, by Toronto writer Jessica Westhead, and Don’t Tell Me What to Do, by Vancouver poet and editor Dina Del Bucchia, both take up these concerns. Westhead focuses on the interior lives of her characters, and locates contemporary malaise in both the connections and disconnections people have, or want to have, to the people and situations around them. Del Bucchia largely avoids this earnestness, and follows through instead on the ironies and absurdities of the world around us, to humorous, often devastating effect.

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Kidlit Spotlight: how children's book authors uncover beauty, hope, and adventure in the dark places; Fall book reviews: New reads from Frances Itani, Mariko Tamaki, Chris Turner, and Anne Michaels.