A Short Journey by Car

Liam Durcan

Love. Death. Stalin. Dentistry. The sixteen stories in A Short Journey by Car give us a cast of characters struggling with forces that perplex and threaten to consume them. From a turn-of-the-century Parisian café where a waiter witnesses the birth of modern cinema to a reminiscence about swimming lessons among sisters who are struggling with bigger contingencies, we come upon people in the midst of upheaval reacting with humour, anger, and, often enough, grace. Durcan introduces us to a world of blissfully deluded medical research subjects, riot cops and activists with startlingly similar preoccupations, a toilet smuggler ambivalent in his pursuit of the American dream, and sons at once dutiful and vengeful. Includes Durcan's 2004 QWF/CBC Short Story Winner, "Kick." "Liam Durcan spins dynamite stories of unease and empathy and anarchy, a foreboding chill as we race to the hospital, drive with Stalin's doomed dentist, ride with a trucker smuggling super-sized toilets. His characters are serious and slapstick and nervous, hurtling unhappily into the mortal world, into the wild rumpus." —Mark JarmanLiam Durcan was born and raised in Winnipeg and now makes his home in Montreal where he works as a neurologist. His fiction has been published in Fiddlehead, Zoetrope, The Antigonish Review, and Maisonneuve. He won the 2004 QWF/CBC Quebec short story competition, has been nominated for the Journey Prize and was featured in Coming Attractions '03.

Esplanade Books
Fiction 2004

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Reviews


"Durcan's greatest gift is for imagining his way into worlds he can't possibly have know. Where he soars, in full flight with his muse, is in stories that vault us out of the contemporary. ...Durcan is equally assured at evoking a landscape or a mood, a quality of light or the drift of a thought.> ...Durcan perfectly captures our most magical, most volatile illusion." -Globe & Mail

"Right from the start, Liam Durcan's debut collection of stories rips free of convention. .... Its sixteen tales cover an astonishing amount of physical and emotional territory, in which the author is conspicuous by his gifted absence. As you turn the page onto a new Durcan story, you have absolutely no idea where he's about to fling you. ... Durcan is already a master of relinquishing information slowly-which is a fancy way of saying that he likes to keep his readers on their toes. ... All in all, A Short Journey by Car is a remarkably intelligent collection. It's also remarkably humane." -Montreal Review of Books

These stories are bound together by Durcan's strong, assured instinct for the telling point of view, and the precision of his language and imagery. ... Durcan himself is a neurologist, and many of his stories deal with the linguistic fizzes and pops that take place in the brain during times of intense emotional stress. In the past the medical profession has produced fine writers: Chekhov, Maugham, William Carlos Williams. Durcan is in good company, and deserves to be." -The Montreal Gazette

"Durcan throws believable characters into quirky situations, and he's got a gift for dispensing information in tantalizing pieces...Durcan shows a genuine curiosity about people--their relationships, their jobs, their lives--that lends depth to his work... Durcan is a smooth and confident writer. ... Short Journey's good stuff bodes well for the author's future work." -Quill & Quire

"[Some of these] stories are catapulting tours de force that roar forward and ricochet. ... [The short story] "Blood" reads as if it were transcribed in a vision." -Canadian Medical Association Journal

Liam Durcan was born and raised in Winnipeg and now makes his home in Montreal where he works as a neurologist. His fiction has been published in Fiddlehead, Zoetrope, The Antigonish Review, and Maisonneuve. He won the 2004 QWF/CBC Quebec short story competition, has been nominated for the Journey Prize and was featured in Coming Attractions '03.
Durcan
Trade paperback
160 pp 8.5" x 5.5"
ISBN13: 9781550651898

CDN $16.95
US & International
US $12.95