A new collection of short fiction from the Governor General’s Literary Award-winning author and Scotiabank Giller Prize finalist Greg Hollingshead.
Act Normal is a collection of sharp, new comic stories about sex, art, and the daily risk of having accidents. Highly original, occasionally dark, but always endearing, these stories are filled with characters who are forced to confront strange behaviour in both themselves and others.
In “The Amazing Insult,” a blow to the head in a boating accident increases a woman’s intelligence and alters her sexual orientation. A man flees a rural meditation camp in for a highway bar in “The Retreat,” where he does his best to get to know a Haitian stripper. A depressed carpenter has to take a break from building his client’s fence in “Unbounded.” In “Night Dreams of the Wise,” a man sleeping with the wife of the British Defense Secretary learns, after a particularly wild night, to stop doing foolish things. A cleric is haunted by the revenant of a member of his diocese in “Miss Buffet.” Nominated for a National Magazine Award, “The Drug-Friendly House,” is the story of a man who attempts to befriend a woman living in a house that the neighbourhood association has labelled “drug friendly.”
Intelligent, insightful, humorous, and occasionally bizarre, Act Normal is a masterful return by Hollingshead to the short story form. Set in the treacherous terrain of the everyday, this collection is about the quest to find love and truth in a broken world.