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The Cult of Quick Repair

Dede Crane

"Jon didn’t mean to have sex with the new systems analyst, the woman who, more or less, replaced his and six other jobs. The situation just got away from him is all. Never in ten years of marriage had he even considered straying. It was the night of Hydro’s 'thanks and get lost' party. He had been liberal with the punch and while filling up yet again, she was there, waiting her turn."

Reviewed by Daniela I. Norris

What goes through the mind of a professional complainer who is put on hold for fifteen minutes and why does she end up seducing the guy at the other end of the line? How come a woman has never reached an orgasm and what is she going to do about it? And why has an art director of a local ballet decided to give a well-known Shakespearean play a very innovative interpretation? The latter is definitely one of my favourite tales in this collection, and Crane obviously enjoys pulling us into the world of dance and the intrigues that go on behind the scenes. How can an art director take revenge when forced to put up a production against his artistic judgment and inclination?

"Martin leaned back in his chair, crossed his arms and focused on the plate of sugared Timbits centred on the boardroom table. He disliked trying to sell himself and his ideas, knew he wasn't personable enough to be any good at it. They hired him to be the artist and should leave these decisions to him….. He glanced once around the table. Nobody was looking at him except Mrs. Morley across from him. Her pen hand had stopped moving and a half-eaten doughnut hole was suspended in front of her mouth."(from Puck)

The answers to all the above questions intertwine in a debut collection of twelve highly observant, immensely enjoyable tales. Dede Crane awards us a glimpse into the minds of others – and sometimes into our very own. "Is this child really mine?" wonders the protagonist of Sunday Bastard, another favourite, while he carries his infant son on his back during a trip to the local supermarket. We are right there, watching in amazement while the seeds of suspicion grow in an embarrassing crescendo. What makes him tick and how does one get back on top of things once they've "lost it" in front of the cashier at the shop – that is left for the reader to reflect upon. "How will it feel after my mother had passed away?" fears another in The Cult of Quick Repair. She spends her days at her mother's deathbed, until she finds that letting go may be the answer.

Crane seems to have the talent of exposing her characters in fragile instants and exploring their inner worlds with the precision and sensitivity of the moves she brings with her from her former career as a professional ballet dancer and choreographer. She presents her readers with a surprising production of highlights of the human psyche, which resonate within and flow together like well-coordinated pas-de-bourrées.

Each of these stories will make you pause and think. Some will make you laugh, others will force you to wince in horror or smile in recognition. But you won't remain indifferent to this carefully woven web which explores life-forming moments beautifully crafted into an intriguing, mysterious and amusingly Canadian pattern.

Read a story from this collection at Coteau Books (PDF)

 Daniela I. Norris is a former diplomat, turned writer. The author of numerous short stories, articles and two books due out in early 2010, she is currently working on a series of political thrillers set at the United Nations in Geneva.She is Contributing Editor with the Geneva Times and book reviewer on World Radio Switzerland's Bookmark program .
Daniela's other Short Reviews: Lynne Patrick (ed) "Criminal Tendencies"   


Publisher: Coteau Books

Publication Date: May 2008

Paperback/Hardback? Paperback

First collection?Yes

Author bio:  Canadian writer Dede Crane is the author of the literary novel Sympathy. She has also published a teen novel, The 25 Pains of Kennedy Baines and has been published in numerous literary journals. Dede has also co-edited a collection of non-fiction stories about the experience of giving birth. She is a former professional ballet dancer and choreographer and currently calls Victoria, B.C. home.

Read an interview with Dede Crane

Buy this book (used or new) from:

The Publisher's Website: Coteau Books


The Author's Recommended Bookseller: Bolen Books


Book Depository



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What other reviewers thought:

Toronto Star

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Danforth Review


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