HOPEFUL MONSTERS by Hiromi Goto (Arsenal Pulp), 176 pages, $19.95 paper. Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
The title of Hiromi Goto's story collection, Hopeful Monsters, captures the mood of these powerful tales - disturbing, inspired, full of paradoxes. Most of Goto's characters are in some kind of domestic crisis. Breastfeeding is excruciatingly painful for one, another can't stand his grandchildren.
And all the stories feature Japanese Canadians wrestling with the impact of culture clash. In one, a young man, living with his whitebread in-laws, keeps fighting his nausea at the sight of congealed butter on his breakfast plate.
The writing is sleek in its economy but pointed in its observation. Yet often a metaphor will bloom into something sublimely sensual. Goto knows how to take her characters into hard places. You won't like all of them - but you won't want to leave them alone.
Except for the last meandering romantic prose poem. Warning to author: let this not be a sign of things to come.
Goto launches Hopeful Monsters at Spaha Wednesday (April 21). See readings, this page.
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