Sunday, October 20

Book Review: HellGoing

Title: HellGoing

Author: Lynn Coady

Pages: EBook

Summary: With astonishing range and depth, Scotiabank Giller Prize finalist Lynn Coady gives us eight unforgettable new stories, each one of them grabbing our attention from the first line and resonating long after the last.

A young nun charged with talking an anorexic out of her religious fanaticism toys with the thin distance between practicality and blasphemy. A strange bond between a teacher and a schoolgirl takes on ever deeper, and stranger, shapes as the years progress. A bride-to-be with a penchant for nocturnal bondage can’t seem to stop bashing herself up in the light of day.


Dogs in Clothes
Take This and Eat It
An Otherworld
Clear Skies
The Natural Elements
Body Condom
Mr. Hope

My Rating: 7.25/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: This wasn't a bad collection by any stretch, but it wasn't exactly a collection of short stories I enjoyed either. I found that, while the stories in the collection where well written, and fairly concrete. There was never that feeling that I needed to inhale the collection in one sitting, there wasn't that hook to keep me reading, and I never felt like I was able to connect to any of the characters in their individual short stories. There was always that extra something, missing for me in this collection, that extra grab to make the collection go from okay to extraordinary.

One of the aspects I enjoyed the most about this collection, is that there was a lot beneath the surface that wasn't revealed until the end, and even then, the author buried it deep into the story, almost like a hidden meaning to the whole story, that isn't revealed until the last sentence. An Otherworld and Mr. Hope are examples of this. They are not my favourites of the book, I don't think I actually have one, but these ones do stand out. They're almost haunting. They are also ones, you have to re-read , to fully get what the author is trying to show you, but I think she did pull it off wonderfully.

Not exactly my favourite collection of short stories, but overall it was a good read.

Would I recommend it to read: I would, it's not my favourite short story collection, but they are well written stories, with a lot of hidden messages beneath the surface of them.

What to read next: The other Giller short/long listed books. The Antagonist would also be a good choice.

Challenges: 2013 Category Challenge, 7th Annual Canadian Book Challenge, EBook Challenge

This is part of an ongoing project I'm doing on the blog to read all of the 2013 Giller Longlisted books.
Click here for further details


  1. I am not a big fan of short fiction, but I may give this one a try. I really like Coady and it seems to getting some good buzz.

    1. This does stand up next to her novel, The Antagonist - the writing has the same quality, and if you like the author, than you should like the collection.

  2. They're not easy stories to read, but I agree that there is a lot lurking beneath the surface. I read a couple of them twice, and they really resonated the second time too.