Nothing Sacred by LORI HAHNELNothing Sacred by LORI HAHNEL

Nothing Sacred

byLORI HAHNEL

Paperback | September 21, 2009

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Through tragically satirical stories, author Lori Hahnel tears down everything that western iconoclasm has set up as hallowed: romantic relationships, the fate of good people, the happy ending. In Nothing Sacred, women encounter violence, depression, and heartbreak, but they persevere to tailor new lives from what remains after the dust settles.

Personalities, in these snapshot fictions, evoke comparisons with superstars, as suggested by a woman relating her boyfriends to '60s icons: “kind of a dirty–blond hiker Paul McCartney” and “with his glasses on he’d reminded me of a tall, blond Woody Allen, if you can picture that”. These alterations become the basis for how far the characters attempt to stretch their skin over frames of idealism. The realities that underlie these fame fantasies are bleak: a woman raises her sister’s daughter following her sibling’s suicide; a punk rock woman forms band after band in an attempt to relive Calgary’s '70s underground scene; and a library worker is assaulted on the job site.

Striking friction between the sentimental values of bygone Hollywood flicks and the misgivings of lower class life in western Canada, these stories provoke the everyday where working in retail or having a motel romance is as good as it gets. This collection leaves nothing untouched, nothing sacred.

Lori Hahnel recently leaped onto the Canadian fiction scene with her fall 2008 release Love Minus Zero (Oberon Press). Nothing Sacred is her second publication, which features her award–winning short fiction that has been broadcast on CBC Radio, and widely published in anthologies and journals including The Fiddlehead, Room Magazine, a...
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Title:Nothing SacredFormat:PaperbackDimensions:323 pages, 8.5 × 5.53 × 0.53 inPublished:September 21, 2009Publisher:Thistledown PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1897235631

ISBN - 13:9781897235638

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Stories that stay with you The characters in these stories are people you've met before, people you might meet. You'll remember this book long after you read it.
Date published: 2015-11-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A collection that grows stronger as you read on Lori Hahnel's second book, a collection of short stories, covers some of the same territory as her recent novel, Love Minus Zero, but it also explores new themes and relationships. She again looks at what it is like to love a man who is incapable of returning the love. The stories in the first half of the book often seemed a little too light to me, as if the writer had not quite figured out how to go beyond a clever twist or a glancing insight to achieve its conclusion. A story like "The Selfish Professor", for example, is puzzling because it has what amounts to a trick ending that yields little but bemusement to the reader. But with "Sisters of Mercy" and the stories that follow in the second half of the book, Hahnel starts to come to grips with deeper themes . From that point on the author's craft really starts to come together. With stories like "Ghost Rag", "Close to the Bone" and "Valediction", the author wrestles with what it means to lose a loved one to death, whether it was a recent love or a love that returns from the distant past. As with her novel, Hahnel puts to good use her own experiences as a punk rock performer on the Calgary music scene in the early 1980s, and also shows good knowledge of old movies and music to flesh out her themes. This is a good first collection, and it is to be hoped that Hahnel will continue to pursue the darker but more powerful themes that are the substance of the stories that appear at the end of this collection.
Date published: 2009-11-06