The nightingales by Patricia Seaman (Coach House), 150 pages, $18.95 paper. Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
best friends can be trouble. especially when they're hot for each other and for each other's boyfriends. Especially when they drink.Toronto writer Patricia Seaman goes to some raw places in her short but powerful novel The Nightingales. It tells the story of a few days in the lives of four women living in a downtown Toronto warehouse and trying to survive a summer heat wave.
Alex falls hard into a friendship with Julie just as Luc enters Julie's life, prompting Alex to take jealousy beyond the usual girlfriendly "What do you mean you're ditching me for him?" play. Boyfriend Eddie isn't helping.
Nikki and Chandra, who've tagged along with Alex and Julie on an alterna-honeymoon to Niagara falls, can't quite figure out how to control the situation. Soon enough, though, Chandra does some shit-disturbing of her own.
These are people who feel things deeply and devastatingly as they troll Spadina's makeshift video shoots and underground bars for easy action.
Seaman conveys all this in delicious detail. Every action is loaded, from the loving gesture of making each other drinks to the way they tenderly finger each other's clothes.
This is a small, hot book with big emotions. And it creeps up on you.