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Hellgoing: Stories

por Lynn Coady

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1333205,097 (3.5)16
Winner of the 2013 Scotiabank Giller Prize. Shortlisted for the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize. Selected as an Amazon.ca Best Book and for The Globe's Top 10 Books of 2013. With astonishing range and depth, Scotiabank Giller Prize winner Lynn Coady gives us nine unforgettable new stories, each one of them grabbing our attention from the first line and resonating long after the last. A young nun charged with talking an anorexic out of her religious fanaticism toys with the thin distance between practicality and blasphemy. A strange bond between a teacher and a schoolgirl takes on ever deeper, and stranger, shapes as the years progress. A bride-to-be with a penchant for nocturnal bondage can't seem to stop bashing herself up in the light of day. Equally adept at capturing the foibles and obsessions of men and of women, compassionate in her humour yet never missing an opportunity to make her characters squirm, fascinated as much by faithlessness as by faith, Lynn Coady is quite possibly the writer who best captures what it is to be human at this particular moment in our history.… (mais)
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The 2013 Scotiabank Giller Prize winner was a bit of a mystery to me as I was reading it. In fact, at first I wasn't even sure why Lynn Coady chose the name 'Hellgoing' for her collection of short stories. As I read on, however, I realized that each story had characters who were going through their own personal hell - the horrors of high school, the self-loathing of anorexia, alcoholism and obesity, the shame of teenage pregnancy, a honeymoon that is disappointing – perhaps a situation that would seem trivial to anyone except the character going through it - perhaps a situation that lasts only a day or two and is then forgotten. Often the characters are nothing short of unsympathetic. Frequently their stories are unresolved.

Still, in the end I found the book compelling and find myself still thinking about it. Definitely worth re-reading. ( )
  EvelynBernard | Sep 13, 2016 |
Anyone who writes short stories knows how difficult it is to get their characters talking and stitch scenes together and provide just enough backstory and create a complete drama in 20 pages, more or less. The trick is making it seem easy. In Hellgoing Lynn Coady makes it seem easy. These are nine entertaining, thought-provoking stories drawn from life in the here and now, narrated with energy, verve and irreverent humour. Coady's characters are insecure and questioning their place in the world, concerned that they are not living up to expectations and terrified that they will fail in a way that exposes them to the contempt and ridicule of colleagues, friends or family. Their actions are often guided by an instinct for self-preservation or a desire to make things right or to protect themselves from embarrassment. In "Wireless" alcoholic Jane, travelling alone on business in Newfoundland, cuts short a booze-inspired relationship with Ned when she realizes she's being manipulated. In "Dogs in Clothes" Sam, a young publishers' rep charged with accompanying author Marco through a whirlwind series of interviews and public appearances, emboldened by alcohol finally cracks and tells him off for being a rude and insensitive jackass. And in "Mr. Hope," Shelly's relationship with her teacher evolves over time to become something mysterious yet oddly comforting that she realizes she will probably never understand. Coady's full-throttle approach almost makes it seem like the stories are slapped together, but if you slow down you will see how much care has been taken not just in the writing but also in the editing. These are stories as remarkable for what's in them as for what's left out. Some reviewers have remarked on the lack of resolution, but that's a matter of taste. For those who enjoy the open-endedness of art that imitates life, Hellgoing is a treat. ( )
  icolford | Jul 11, 2014 |
This book was totally unexpected. It won the prestigious Giller Prize this year and even though I'm not a real fan of short stories, I expected it to be enjoyable. It was not; at least not to me. I found this book of nine short stories difficult to get through. I only read seven of the nine, but I didn't really understand much about the stories. Some were totally confusing like the story of the nun who made hospital visits and discovered a 14 year old girl with severe anorexia. The nun thinks she is reaching this girl and she thinks she'll get her to eat, but it doesn't work. The girls keeps coming back. We never find out what happens to the girl. Frustrating. And what about the story about the new bride who engages in sado-masochistic activities with her husband in the basement jungle that he has created? Bizarre. The other five stories that I read were equally as frustrating. I'm sorry Giller judges. You have made a mistake this time. I like stories with a beginning, and end, a plot to link them and characters that I can relate to and understand. ( )
  Romonko | Dec 6, 2013 |
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Winner of the 2013 Scotiabank Giller Prize. Shortlisted for the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize. Selected as an Amazon.ca Best Book and for The Globe's Top 10 Books of 2013. With astonishing range and depth, Scotiabank Giller Prize winner Lynn Coady gives us nine unforgettable new stories, each one of them grabbing our attention from the first line and resonating long after the last. A young nun charged with talking an anorexic out of her religious fanaticism toys with the thin distance between practicality and blasphemy. A strange bond between a teacher and a schoolgirl takes on ever deeper, and stranger, shapes as the years progress. A bride-to-be with a penchant for nocturnal bondage can't seem to stop bashing herself up in the light of day. Equally adept at capturing the foibles and obsessions of men and of women, compassionate in her humour yet never missing an opportunity to make her characters squirm, fascinated as much by faithlessness as by faith, Lynn Coady is quite possibly the writer who best captures what it is to be human at this particular moment in our history.

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