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Daddy Lenin and Other Stories by Guy…

Daddy Lenin and Other Stories

by Guy Vanderhaeghe

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Excellent writing; short stories that read like the kind of plot oblivious novels I like; prairie small towns in midcentury. ( )
  triscuit | Dec 19, 2015 |
The beauty of a good piece of literature is the ability to empathize with the plight of the characters. A good writer can make a reader relate to the people he is talking about in a few simple words. Guy Vanderhaeghe is one such writer with that skill and he brings that skill forward repeatedly in his latest collection called Daddy Lenin And Other Stories.

http://tinyurl.com/mzc3c65 ( )
  steven.buechler | May 21, 2015 |
Of the nine stories in this collection, two in particular really resonated with me: "Tick Tock", which is about a conflict between next-door-neighbours in an apartment complex, and "Counsellor Sally Brings Me to the Tunnel", in which the narrator deals with the aftermath of his uncle Teddy's death. In both cases it's probably an ego thing, because I too live in an apartment building whose tenants consist primarily of elderly people (with the exception of some noisy neighbours), and because I have relatives who have experienced the physical and mental deterioration exhibited by Uncle Teddy.

All of the stories feature a male protagonist, sometimes with first-person, sometimes with third-person, and a lot of them are at the middle-aged or older end of the spectrum. Many are looking back on their lives to pivotal moments or memories they want to recapture. In this way they can be a bit similar, especially the stories that are set mostly in the 50s and 60s, but the collection as a whole works pretty well for a bus book or a "read a story a day on your lunch hour" book. ( )
1 vote rabbitprincess | May 8, 2015 |
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Readers familiar with Guy Vanderhaeghe only through the bloody and frequently sombre historical novels of his ‘literary western’ trilogy (The Englishman’s Boy, The Last Crossing, A Good Man) may be surprised to find themselves smiling in amusement or laughing aloud at intervals across the nine delightful tales of Daddy Lenin. Masterful, these often lighthearted, comic scenario peppered, and nonetheless dark-tinged stories showcase the author taking a few confident steps from his pensive historian persona toward another as an amused pupil of human foibles.

Which is not to suggest that Vanderhaeghe has all that much in common with Chekhov, apart from a strain of psychological realism and a tendency to avoid pat endings. Vanderhaeghe’s central focus is on men struggling to achieve a sense of purpose or dignity in the face of external forces bent on frustrating them...The appeal to masculinity–especially in relation to women–looms large in Daddy Lenin, most especially in the collection’s best story, the blisteringly satirical Tick Tock.
Contentment comes with a price, Guy Vanderhaeghe reminds us. Read this and the other eight stories in this fine collection for their narrative completeness and the truths they tell.
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It's the summer of 1970 and I've got one lovely ambition.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0771099142, Hardcover)

Bestselling author Guy Vanderhaeghe’s new book of fiction is both timely and timeless and showcases his supreme talent as a storyteller and poignant observer of the human condition.

Among these nine addictive and resonant stories: A teenage boy breaks out of the strict confines of his family, his bid for independence leads him in over his head. He learns about life in short order and there is no turning back. An actor’s penchant for hiding behind a role, on and off stage, is tested to the limits and what he comes to discover finally places him face to face with the truth. With his mother hospitalized for a nervous condition and his father away on long work stints, a boy is sent to another family for his meals. His gradually building relationship with a teenage daughter who has been left handicapped from Polio opens unexpected doors to the world. In the powerful title story, a middle-aged man remeets his former adviser at university, a charismatic and domineering professor dubbed Daddy Lenin. As their tense reunion progresses, secrets from the past painfully revise remembered events and threaten to topple the scaffolding of a marriage.

With Daddy Lenin and Other Stories, award-winning author Guy Vanderhaeghe returns once again to the form that launched his stellar literary career. Here is a grand master writing at the height of his powers.

(retrieved from Amazon Fri, 03 Jul 2015 05:24:03 -0400)

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