Wednesday, 6 April 2011

'Insignificant Gestures', Jo Cannon

Insignificant Gestures, Jo Cannon.
'Insignificant Gestures' is a collection of twenty five stories which are 'beautifully written, often with a surreal, dystopian edge.' Cannon is a GP in an inner city practice and her medical expertise is brought to bear in many of the stories. 'Mercy is Sick Today' is one such story; moving but decidedly unsentimental: 'Flicking at flies, shooing curious children, I guard her. At midday I light the fire for nsima. Not everyone in the village will eat today.'
Cannon is not afraid to tackle 'difficult' topics and 'Daddy's Girl', a story in which a young Muslim man boards the tube carrying a rucksack, is an intricate exploration of secret thoughts and isolation. Many of the characters in this collection are exiles or outsiders, this is true even in the more humourous stories such as 'The Alphabet Diet'. 'Daddy's Girl' was one of my favourite stories, another was the sinister 'Shutters' in which the narrator says to his wife, 'Now you're ill it's better. There's only me.'
Read interviews with Cannon here and here.
Read reviews of 'Insignificant Gestures here and here.

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