I recently picked up This Cake Is for the Party by Sarah Selecky at Word on the Street because I had heard rave reviews about the author. She’s been compared to Canadian greats like Alice Munro. The thing with Canadian authors is not just that they’re so incredibly depressing – but that fact that they can write so depressingly SO well!
In that respect, Selecky is no different. But her collection of short stories does add a new age twist by focusing on the fears and anxieties of our day. In the short story, Go-Manchura, a self-conscious and anxiety-proned main character (uh, who doesn’t fit that description?), invites her friends to her cottage in an awkward attempt to sell them “Go-Manchura”, a collection of health foods backed by a pyramid selling scheme.
Having graduated during the recession, I’ve had more than one friend try to recruit/ sell me a pyramid-scheme. And those were the ones that meant well.
What Selecky does best is show our three biggest fears: losing our stuff, losing our shit and getting cancer. In an effort to prevent all three of these tragedies, we inevitably lose our shit, get cancer and die – thus losing all our stuff.
See what happens when you let me sum up short stories? This Cake Is for the Party is just a quirky book of stories until you realize that you’re scared to death that you might be living them. And that’s what makes it damn good, depressing Canadian lit.
Photo credits: sutkutusu.com