Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Incident Report

by Martha Baillie
Pedlar Press, 2009

I was a bit worried when I received this library hold earlier than anticipated. But as I flipped through the pages, I breathed a sigh of relief - there was a lot of white space on most of the pages!

Forget journal entries, correspondence, straightforward plot, or stories told from differing viewpoints. This story is told in spurts - each little incident forming its own report. Mariam, the book's protagonist, is a library clerk in Toronto. Her career seems to be dictated by her dead father's love affair with books, and the library is populated by customers on the fringe of society, as well as quirky coworkers. When she meets Janko at a local park, he fills a void in her life, bringing happiness and a feeling of security. But someone at the library seems to be stalking her and Mariam can't figure out who. Is there any such thing as safety?

I found this book interesting for its experimental style. The story's climax came as a bit of a surprise and the abrupt ending disappointed. At least it disappointed me. The book was a Giller Prize nominee after all, and is the sort of book that provokes discussion and controversy.

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