LADYKILLER by Charlotte Gill (Thomas Allen), 230 pages, $24.95 paper. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
If you're looking for feel-good fiction, stay away from Ladykiller, Charlotte Gill's debut story collection. In Gill's world, relationships run the gamut from toxic to ultra-toxic.
But if you want to read someone who's definitely on the rise, pick it up. Gill writes with clarity and courage about promiscuous men and the women who (maybe) love them.
As you read these seven smart stories, you may feel that the terrible twosome button has been pushed once too often, but when Gill brings other elements into the equation she gives you a sense of her huge potential.
Hush - a finalist for the 2003 Journey Prize - features another of those bickering pairs but pits them against the couple downstairs. You're never sure what they're going to do about their neighbours' baby, who never stops crying.
Open Water: A Brief Romance puts readers inside the head of a scuba driving instructor with the hots for his 16-year-old student. Gill has the skill to keep you with the horny guy without making you feel like you want to strangle him.
And Homology is one of the best stories I've read in a long time. Twin sisters, locked in a love/hate relationship, travel to Thailand. Yes, it's another of those dysfunctional dyads, but it makes for fascinating reading - horrifying yet also strangely satisfying. There's a novel in this story somewhere.