First Review in with a Star

It was a fun book launch, more like a wedding, many said, with a jazz trio and food and liquor and almost three hundred people. We sold a record number of books (213) and had a quick bingo game, won by my Humber replacement, the incoming David Bezmozgis, who tok home a mickey of Crown Royal Whiskey.

And now the first review comes in from Quill and Quire, Canada’s publishing industry journal, and it contains the much-coveted star. I have pasted in a photo that is a bit hard to read, but I’ll put in a link later if one shows up.

Gravitas Versus Comedy

Comedy and Tragedy

What isn’t tragic seems funny to me, and sometimes comedy and tragedy are so closely entwined that it’s hard to distinguish one from the other.

One of my earliest collections of Stories, Buying on Time, was comic and nominated for a humour award.  After that, I wrote what was essentially tragedy in Woman in Bronze and Underground.

Now I am returning to comedy with a new book to be published by ECW Press in 2016 or 2017, and its working title is The Barefoot Bingo Caller.

Guess what mood that might be in.

As a writer on Eastern Europe and the WWII and postwar,  I am all gravitas, as many of the posts in this blog can attest. But when I write about my childhood and life in Canada, I veer toward comedy.

Some people I know find this confusing. After killing 47 people in Underground, I needed some relief.  Comedy is my refuge from the darkness of history.

And when one reads before an audience, it’s so much easier to tell when comedy succeeds. When I read from my heavier work, I’m never sure if the audience has appreciated my gravitas, or if I have inflicted some combination of mental anguish and gastric distress.