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I am a writer working primarily in short form fiction and podcasts. I am interested in our shared underbelly, the places we hide, and shining a light while gently pushing you over.

 

 

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Left by Juliet Gagnon is unapologetically brutal. It’s a punch in the guts by a ballerina; beautiful, graceful, haunting, and strong as fuck. There is no hiding from these words, nowhere to run or catch your breath from the relentless stream of conscious memories and regret.
Gagnon introduces the reader to a motley crew of cross dressers, adulterers, kitten killers, oppressed wives, leftover children and lovers. They make you feel uneasy, anxious. You recognise yourself in their fabric, their skin. If it wasn’t so eloquent you just might stop but the sinuous pace and sensuous prose draw you forward.
Gagnon is a master of making the grotesque beautiful without hiding its ugliness. Nothing is spoon fed, but all is understood. This is a storyteller of few words, leaving the reader to fill in the gaps viscerally. In Boxing Day the life story of a marriage is told on 3 pages, over a Chinese dinner. You feel the falling apart, the disdain and despair that is never mentioned. In Mermaid Parade you feel the loneliness that keeps two people apart, together. Each short story is a volume of words left unsaid.
Left is a collection of stories you want to come back to again and again, each reading revealing something new about the characters, about yourself. I am still haunted by the last story in the collection, 8. It feels like a dream I woke in the middle of and I’m not sure if it’s really happened or only imagined. Why did she pull the trigger? Why didn’t she go inside? Maybe I’ll figure it out on the next reading. But that’s part of the fun in a book this good

Review of Left