A RETURN TO THE FORM
Saskatchewan author Guy Vanderhaeghe is probably best known for his epic Western trilogy of historical novels, which includes The Englishman’s Boy, The Last Crossing, and A Good Man. The first of those novels won its author a Governor General’s Literary Award, though that was actually the second time Vanderhaeghe claimed that particular prize. In 1982 his literary debut, the story collection Man Descending, received the award.
Much has been said about Vanderhaeghe’s novels – about their epic sweep and dramatic reckoning with the coeval fin-de-siècle development of Canada and the U.S. While none of the praise is misplaced, it does obscure the fact that the author is also a highly talented practitioner of the short-fiction form. It therefore comes as welcome news that Vanderhaeghe has undertaken a return to his roots in his new book, his first story collection since 1992’s Things As They Are? (the punctuation is oddly left off the 2004 Emblem Editions reprint).
As with his previous collections, Daddy Lenin and Other Stories (M&S) focuses on masculinity as its defining subject, finding its men at various stages in their lives – from adolescence to middle-age – and traversing locales from urban to rural.