Publication Date: Nov 17, 2005

216 pp

Trade Paperback

List Price US $12.95
ISBN: 9781590511893

“The enormous inventiveness of these 55 fictions offers the reader an emotional and intellectual gourmet feast.”
—2003 Giller Prize Jury

A finalist for the 2003 Giller Prize, Canada’s most prestigious literary award, Kilter is a subtle, funny, ironic, and startling chronicle of contemporary life, full of individuals catching odd glimpses of themselves—a young woman puzzles over the identity of her lost brother; a husband describes a sixteenth-century painting to explain his lover to his wife—and of big ideas working themselves out in strange but revealing ways—a dead man laments the suicide note he failed to write; a wife and husband disagree about the shape of the semen stain on their son’s pajamas, he seeing it as an image of Jesus, she as the image of her dog as a puppy.

John Gould has updated and westernized the form of the palm-of-the-hand story, invented eighty years ago by Yasunari Kawabata, who wanted a way to write a fiction writer’s poetry. In spare, elegant prose, Gould crafts quirky gems, compact fusions of humor and pathos. At the center of this multifaceted collection is a vision of human beings as paradoxical creatures, finite and haunted by infinite longings. In story after story, Gould locates the fulcrum on which a life tilts from kilter to off-kilter and back again.

Excerpt from Kilter

“There are big ideas in these small packages. . . . Kilter, at once quiet and terribly ambitious, funny and moving, is a keeper.” —The Globe and Mail