on June 19, 2008
Stunt as a story is almost literally a dark night of the soul, a journey from shattering grief through progressively more mature and complex disappointments to a tender, wise and precarious hope. It begins at night, "the dead centre of it", and ends in the light of dawn.
When Eugenia, the girl-hero, loses the anchor that is her vanishingly complex father, she trawls through Toronto's homely and redolent wash, sharply and humorously drawn, with a stubborn need to find meaningful purchase on some odd and forgiving shore. Viscerally, palpably concrete yet open, logical and surreal, this fine book performs the very life-preserving, faith-leaping high wire act that it describes.
The late philosopher Robert Nozick once wrote of "our fundamental connection to the world" as "one of relation and trust." A dream, at its best, makes a revelation of this connection, pins open one's defenseless being to its own remorseless truths: this is what I am, here is what I really need and want from them, that reaction is the thing I fear most in the world, or desire greater than riches. Stunt is in this way a fiercely accurate, harrowing and beautiful, sustained and consistent, dream. One wakes from it, but cannot forget.