The stories in the broken record Technique take place in some kind of now where characters wear fat suits or can't stop running or have misshapen heads, but despite these oddities that might easily distinguish them, they remain at heart obedient and good in that small-town sort of way.Vancouver-based Lee Henderson depicts all sorts of relationships -- guidance counsellor/counselled, spouses, neighbours, friends -- with an understanding that comes from a rare place in contemporary fiction: closed-mouthed reverence. Even objects are described touchingly, though not at all floridly, in a way that makes an overturned jar of relish, for instance, seem not like a detail or a prop, but rather, like another sorry, peculiar character.
In W, the last and longest story, a kidnapper tells the father of the kidnapped boy, over the phone, "Big whoop what you think." The collection is full of moments like this. Henderson's ear for dialogue is as keen as Harold Pinter's. His sentences are always almost funny in a measured sort of way that produces a feeling like the queasy pleasure you get from picking at a scab.
Along with the moments of violence and sadism, there's something exceedingly polite about Henderson's style in this, his first collection -- almost a metaphysical politeness that's a distant cousin of the gulp.Write Books at email@example.com