This year’s edition of Best Canadian Stories (Oberon Press), edited by John Metcalf, just arrived on the doorstep with the afternoon mail. DG’s story “The Sun Lord and the Royal Child,” originally published by Philip Graham in Ninth Letter, is included in a stellar list which also contains an amazing number of Numéro Cinq writers: Lynn Coady, Caroline Adderson & Steven Heighton. That means four out of the ten stories included in Best Canadian Stories this year were written by authors we’ve published on these pages. This tells you something about the quality of the work we’re publishing.
Here’s the opening of the story. You can order the book online from Chapters/Indigo.
The Sun Lord and the Royal Child
By Douglas Glover
I went to see my friend Nedlinger after his wife killed herself in that awful and unseemly way, making a public spectacle of herself and their life together, which, no doubt, Nedlinger hated because of his compulsive need for privacy and concealment, a need which seemed to grow more compelling as his fame spread, as success followed success, as the money poured in, so that in later years when he could no longer control or put a stop to his public notoriety, when it seemed, yes, as if his celebrity would eclipse his private life entirely, he himself turned reclusive and misanthropic, sought to erase himself, as it were, and return to the simple life of a nonentity.
You will recall that Nedlinger began his career as a so-called forensic archaeologist specializing in the analysis of prehistoric Iroquoian ossuaries in southwestern Ontario and it was then, just after finishing his doctorate, before lightning struck, as it were, that he met Melusina, at that time a mousy undergraduate studying library science, given to tucking her unruly hair behind her ears and wearing hip-length cardigan sweaters with pockets into which she stuffed used and unused tissues, note cards, pens, odd gloves, sticks of lip balm, hand lotion and her own veiny fists, her chin depressed over her tiny, androgynous breasts–in those days she wore thick flesh coloured stockings and orthopedic shoes to correct a birth defect, syndactyly, I believe it is called. Only Nedlinger, with his forensic mind, could pierce the unpromising surface, the advertising, as it were, to the intelligent, passionate, sensual, fully alive being that hid in the shadows.
— Buy the book, read the rest.