I’m trying to be less pedantic about this sort of thing, and so, in a certain sense, I’ve let the later stories of the bad collection by Douglas Glover, Dog Attempts to Drown Man in Saskatoon, wash over me. It is remarkable, I think, that John Metcalf placed this book on a list of the 40 best Canadian collections of short stories produced in Canada up to the 21st Century, but maybe less remarkable when you consider that I don’t know anything at all about John Metcalf. Giving this book equal footing with Munro is blasphemy, especially since it contains passages like this one, which I think unsuccessfully crosses the line from self-conscious to sentimental:
“Name’s Red Mulvaney,” he said, gesturing with his cigar. “I build shopping centres, drink and whore all the time, and if I keep it up, the doctors say I’ll live another five years—tops. Hell, I got a lotta living to do!”
The reason I picked up Dog Attempts was its titular story, which about 18 months ago I read and liked. It’s placed near the end, though, and the closer I get, the more nervous I become.