Thursday, May 6, 2010

Dust to Dust by Timothy Findley

Anyone who has been closely following my book reviews over time knows that I love Canadian authors and I love short stories... so this one ought to be a winner.

Dust to Dust is a collection of short stories in varied locations with characters who's path's never cross, but the stories hold together by dealing with death.  As it typical of Findley, some stories are positively lyrical and walk a fine balance between tragedy and comedy.  The stories often touch on death at the sidelines, and our reactions to the realities of our mortality become a focal point.

That said, I did not enjoy this collection overall, and I'm really souring on Findley altogether.  I've also read The Butterfly Plague and Not Wanted on the Voyage (which I did NOT enjoy!), and I struggle with not just the smattering of outright blasphemy (this collection was the worst so far) but with this whole blasphemous tone.  I can read over an occasional "o-my-g" and although it upsets me, it doesn't have to spoil the whole story.  But Findley's not really about that... it's passages like this that bug me:
(three sisters are caretakers of a RC church, and are busy polishing the statuary)
"Only Babette, the shortest, was able to skate behind the knees of the seated Christ of Aquitain.  He has the nicest thighs, she had said on the first occasion, prompting Therese to crawl in after her.  There in the gloom, caressing those parts that only the sculptor's fingers and her sister's had explored before her, she released a sigh that was almost a moan of pleasure."

Am I being ridiculous or is this offensive?  Anyone else read Timothy Findley?  What did you think?

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