book review: can’tlit

I’ve been waiting for Can’tLit at the library for what feels like months. It’s a collection of short fiction from the many years of Broken Pencil magazine (edited by Richard Rosenbaum). The only writer whose stuff I knew before reading the book was Joey Comeau, and his story (about remembering that giraffes exist and the feelings that brings out at an office party) was pretty great. There were a lot of them that were pretty great, plus a few I didn’t much care for.

The idea behind the book’s title is that there’s a specific genre that is Canadian Literature (CanLit). That stuff tends to be rural coming of age stories by women named Margaret. This book (and Broken Pencil as a magazine) is dedicated to the less reputable forms of literature in our country. The twisted weird stories of punkrock and lust and sleeplessness (it was notable how many of the stories had to do with insomnia).

I like when these kinds of indie stories are legitimized. Making zine culture a bit more accessible and such. It’s the kind of thing I think I’m interested in as part of my career I think. Collecting, organizing and possibly legitimizing small-published weird little bits of the universe.

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