When our own darkness is mirrored in multi-faceted characters, do we look away in disgust or find the humanity within them? In his debut short fiction collection, John Mavin has slyly exposed themes hidden deep below the surface with breathtaking potency, eloquence, and wit.
Rage follows a loosely interwoven group of people from the fictional town of Dolsens, Ontario. Archaeologists, mountain climbers, priests, musicians, psychics, soldiers, and teens all confront the rage and sorrow of lives based on lies and abuse. Throughout the collection, these people struggle to gain their independence, their dignity, and in some cases, to take revenge. When such content becomes overpowering, Mavin’s lyrical and controlled writing keeps us so enmeshed that we cannot look away.
The potent narratives within Rage cast a very specific spell. They hold us close with their suspenseful conflicts and the fearful uncertainty of what a desperate or angry person might do, and are often as dark as they are enlightening.
"The range of Mavin's world scopes far and wide as lives flash and swell on the page with brutality and a dark compassion." — Maureen Medved, author of The Tracey Fragments
"The sensory—particularly tactile—quality of Mavin’s prose pulls in the reader bodily: the feel of pebbles passing through fingers, boots filling with frigid Ontario-winter water, and what it means to be inside red saddle shoes. Mavin’s experimentation is adult play, populated with sounds of German and Spanish and cicadas, and visuals of fogging glass and a crow with eyes of black marbles. While the stories take place in the fictional Ontario town of Dolsens, the voices and situations create and illuminate the breadth that can be found within one place, whether it be young women in an abandoned graffitied building, or musicians aging, or a man of the cloth. The reader is left with the sense that one cannot judge quickly, and it’s best to remain open. Rage is a collection of turns, and will take the reader into disparate corners…which is exactly what short fiction should do."
— Alison Acheson
"Mavin’s stories yank us into the sound bytes of the day-to-day digital narrative we collectively skim. Deftly turning them inside out, he lingers there—draws us into their pathos, their aching beauty." — Betsy Warland, Oscar of Between: A Memoir of Identity and Ideas
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