Saturday, October 22, 2005

Sheila Heti

Here’s a quirky little link. Sheila Heti blazed into the spotlight with The Middle Stories, a wonderful collection of fable-like prose pieces a la Lydia Davis, or Diane Williams, or dare-I-say, Sheila Heti-ish, first published by McSweeney’s. She’s a Canadian original, a breathe of fresh air in a land of prose paralyzed by Alice Munro. Nothing against Alice Munro, the reigning Queen of exposition and insight and I adore her and her work, but there’s more to narrative than she has mustered and I’m sure she’d be the first to say so. However, loosening the stranglehold of what passes for prose north of the 49th has been a difficult undertaking. Sheila Heti has helped lubricate those expectations thank you very much. (Nicole Brossard, Daphne Marlatt, Gail Scott and others have been pushing at those boundaries for years, yes, I know, but Heti, and now others such as Alayna Munce for example, are moving in a slightly different direction…)

Who knows what will happen next? The little offering Heti offers up on her own site shows just how edgy she really is. Yes, she has now published a “real” novel with Ticknor—and quite a feat it is—but she is an innovator, and she is a risk taker (Blame it on that theatre training, or Montreal, or both…). Check out Temperance.

No comments: