Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club

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House of Anansi Press Incorporated, 2019 - Fiction - 440 pages

February in Newfoundland is the longest month of the year.

Another blizzard is threatening to tear a strip off downtown St. John's, while inside The Hazel restaurant a storm system of sex, betrayal, addiction, and hurt is breaking overhead. Iris, a young hostess from around the bay, is forced to pull a double despite resolving to avoid the charming chef and his wealthy restaurateur wife. Just tables over, Damian, a hungover and self-loathing server, is trying to navigate a potential punch-up with a pair of lit customers who remain oblivious to the rising temperature in the dining room. Meanwhile Olive, a young woman far from her northern home, watches it all unfurl from the fast and frozen street. Through rolling blackouts, we glimpse the truth behind the shroud of scathing lies and unrelenting abuse, and discover that resilience proves most enduring in the dead of this winter's tale.

By turns biting, funny, poetic, and heartbreaking, Megan Gail Coles' debut novel rips into the inner lives of a wicked cast of characters, building towards a climax that will shred perceptions and force a reckoning. This is blistering Newfoundland Gothic for the twenty-first century, a wholly original, bracing, and timely portrait of a place in the throes of enormous change, where two women confront the traumas of their past in an attempt to overcome the present and to pick up a future.

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User Review  - LynnB - LibraryThing

This is a difficult book to read because of its brutality -- people are mistreated and not valued because they are women, non-white, or gay. But it's worth it. The author's ability to get into the ... Read full review

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User Review  - gypsysmom - LibraryThing

This was a really hard book to read. I persevered though and I'm glad I did. In fact, I am rooting for this book to win the 2020 Canada Reads contest and I haven't even read three of the books. I just ... Read full review

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About the author (2019)

MEGAN GAIL COLES is a graduate of Memorial University of Newfoundland and the National Theatre School of Canada, and she has recently completed a Masters of Fine Arts from the University of British Columbia. She has written and produced numerous plays. Her first fiction collection, Eating Habits of the Chronically Lonesome, won the BMO Winterset Award, the ReLit Award, and the Margaret and John Savage First Book Award, and it earned her the one-time Writers' Trust 5x5 prize. Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club, her debut novel, was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. Originally from Savage Cove on the Great Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland, Megan currently resides in Montreal, where she is a Ph.D. candidate at Concordia University.

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