Montreal-based translator Smith debuts with nine stories, some of which hit the mark. In The B9ers, a man forms a support group for people who have had benign tumors removed, and that's where the action stops: a weak subplot involving fraud by a representative of an orphanage fails to give the story much bite. In Isolettes, a woman has a baby with the use of her friend's sperm, yet when catastrophe strikes after the birth, the general airlessness of the writing makes it hard to access her feelings. Similarly, the collection's longest story, Jaybird, profiles an ambitious actor led into an extremely revealing performance by his agent's secretary under false pretenses, but the denouement unfolds mutedly. Smith's poise finds its best home in Extremities, which follows a pair of gloves from one owner to another and finally through a murder, and in the title story, in which a woman ages forward too rapidly, and then backward just as rapidly. (Jan.)
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“Bang Crunch is a wonder. Devastatingly witty, heartfelt and wise. YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK.”
Praise for Neil Smith:
“Smith’s numerous talents collapse the distance between maniacal violence and the insecurities and inadequacies beneath the surface of daily life.”
—The Globe and Mail