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I finished a Caffè Americano at Starbucks, cut with whole milk to make it drinkable, before I headed just down Church Street to This Ain't The Rosedale Library (483 Church Street) for tonight's 8 o'clock reading, featuring Canadian writers Royston Tester and Matthew Fox reading selections from their latest collections, Summat Else and Cities of Weather. Tester went first with his grimly funny story "Now Showing", a pleasantly dry and witty first-person recounting of an errant emigrant son's coping with the death of his mother in her English council home, a story that itself introduced the Summat Else collection. Next came Fox, assistant editor of maisonneuve, who read a compressed version of his story "The Clearing." The problem with compressing a story is that complicated and critical structures can get obliterated; and indeed, comparing my memory of his reading with the story in Cities of Weather later tonight at the Indigo at Bay and Bloor, I can say this did happen. Although both writers did competent jobs, Tester seemed the more confident of the two, giving a nicely inflected and animated reading that made his audience laugh more than a few times. The only real disappointment was that the entiree event lasted only three-quarters of an hour; that, and the sadly light attendance.
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