Missed Her: Or, What is a Story?

    

My first introduction to Ivan E. Coyote came in the form of a Christmas gift from K. when she gave me Bow Grip and Closer to Spiderman (see post of ages ago). I loved Ivan E. then and I love her now.

I love that after finishing an Ivan E. collection I’m left considering not just the subjects of the stories – familial bonds, those expectations about identity and behaviour we carry into any encounter with other people, the obligations we hold to one another, the limits we set, define or negotiate about our own identities – but the quality of “story” as a form. That Coyote’s stories read not as fictional tales with made-up protagonists in invented circumstances, but as stories we might hear and share at the pub, make reading a collection feel like a conversation, like I have been invited into an intimate exchange and have been trusted to hear the stories and do with them what I will (hopefully something good).

K. sent me this story last week, and when I got to it in the collection I was outraged, thinking someone had plagarized Coyote on a website, not putting together (sigh) that K. had sent me the very much attributed Coyote story: http://www.xtra.ca/public/National/Ten_steps_to_getting_over_the_ex_who_just_walked_out_on_you-8095.aspx

I liked this one because it made me laugh, and diverged in tone from the rest of the collection that otherwise keeps close to first person narration and generally defines plot around small scale person-to-person interactions. (Also because it offers reasonable advice.)

No favourite story in this collection, just a general sense of appreciation for a writer who creates stories that read as personal and particular, and yet all the same widely understood and shared.

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Filed under 100 Books of 2011, Canadian Literature, Fiction, Short Stories

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