Daddy Lenin and Other Stories

Daddy Lenin and Other Stories

Book - 2015
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Set in western Canada, in both urban and rural locations, these nine stories are both timely and timeless and showcase Vanderhaeghe's supreme talent as a storyteller and poignant observer of the human condition. His wit and insights are razor sharp. In the powerful title story, a middle-aged man re-meets his former adviser at university, a charismatic and domineering left-wing professor they dub Daddy Lenin. As their tense reunion progresses, secrets from the past painfully revise remembered events and threaten to topple the scaffolding of a marriage.
Publisher: Toronto : McClelland & Stewart, ©2015.
ISBN: 9780771099144
Characteristics: 264 pages ;,22 cm.

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baldand
Dec 07, 2016

These are beautiful stories, that show Vanderhaeghe’s remarkable range, sometimes using an omniscient third person narrator, sometimes telling a story in the first person, and each first person narrator having his own distinctive voice. (None of the stories are told by women.) One of the best stories, Chevy Bel Air, tells how teenage heartbreak leads a 16-year old boy to flee his Saskatchewan farm and find a job in the Alberta oil patch. Vanderhaeghe isn’t a political writer, but in this story he chronicles one individual in what was a big population movement from Saskatchewan to Alberta. While there are big emotions playing out in the foreground of his story, one can also see the big demographic movement that is its background. The title story “Daddy Lenin”, is not as its title suggests, about Communism. Daddy Lenin is the nickname of the history professor who started off as the narrator’s thesis advisor. Although not a long story, most people will find a sense of recognition in it. Who hasn’t wondered at one point or another if an acquaintance’s interest in a controversial subject might not reflect an unadmitted prejudice, like Daddy Lenin’s interest in French Anti-Semitic writers? More personally, who hasn’t wondered if a former mentor has not in some way spoiled their career and made it much less than it might have been? Vanderhaeghe should just keep on writing as he does. No-one should give him any advice, as what he writes is marvellous.

u
uncommonreader
Oct 20, 2016

Nine stories, mostly set on the Prairies, mostly good.

m
mclarjh
Apr 23, 2016

Very good writing, although I found the title short story the weakest.

p
Pasdeproblem
Mar 19, 2016

Excellent writing; short stories that read like the kind of plot-oblivious novels I like; precise depiction of Canadian prairie small towns in midcentury.

BPLpicks Nov 07, 2015

Winner of the Governor General's Award for Fiction and very well reviewed among readers. If you like short stories this should be on your library holds list.

s
santiano9
Jul 18, 2015

With the exception of Koenig and Company, I found these short stories unsatisfying. Not 'tight' enough, somehow and the endings did not bring the end to the circle.

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