My White Planet
StoriesBook - 2008
Mark Anthony Jarman is one of Canada's most original and compelling writers of short fiction. My White Planet is his latest collection of fourteen new stories, many of which have previously won or been short-listed for literary magazine awards. Jarman's use of language and metaphor is unique in the Canadian literary pantheon. With extraordinary linguistic energy, he pushes the boundaries of fiction and story-telling. Every sentence reverberates with subtle meaning and every reading of a Jarman story brings out ever deeper layers of complexity and nuance. Here is a protean writer who bends form and enters into worlds and people with panache and a verve that is breath-taking.
The range of his fiction is stunning: troops undertake a nightmarish march following Custer's last stand; a father's dogs tear apart his son and he is accused of cowardice and neglect; seven marooned men at a remote polar station save the life of a naked young woman; domestic squabbles and infidelity abound amidst west coast chainsaws and floatplanes; a dropout skateboarder falls off a railway bridge and drowns in the river; a city bus ride ends up crossing the entire country; a time traveler witnesses Louis Riel's botched execution of Thomas Scott; a young woman removes her bra from under her shirt and her male friend is paralysed by possible meanings; an outsider plays old timer hockey in the wilds of New Brunswick; Victorian fashion is mixed up with the violent deaths of Custer, Louis Riel and Sitting Bull; a flight attendant is able to read passengers' minds. A master of literary conceit and a hewer of breakneck language, Mark Anthony Jarman defies categorization and offers us instead a narrative freshness that surprises and offers up a world of wonders.