Every Minute Is a Suicide: Stories by Bruce McdougallEvery Minute Is a Suicide: Stories by Bruce Mcdougall

Every Minute Is a Suicide: Stories

byBruce Mcdougall

Paperback | October 15, 2014

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A collection of short stories centred on a father's disappearance and his son's decades-long journey toward answers.

Title:Every Minute Is a Suicide: StoriesFormat:PaperbackDimensions:192 pages, 8.74 × 5.65 × 0.67 inPublished:October 15, 2014Publisher:Porcupine's QuillLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0889843775

ISBN - 13:9780889843776

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Read from the Book

A Dangerous ManOur mother told us years later that she'd moved us away from our father because he'd hit her, and she'd begun to fear that he might start hitting us too. "I wasn't afraid of what he might do to me," she explained. "But I was awfully worried that he might hurt you." At first, it felt exciting to ask our mother to tell us this story. My sister and I listened as if she was describing a close encounter with a train wreck. We felt lucky to have survived unscathed. But our mother never changed her story, and her one-note explanation of why she'd abandoned our father became a bit boring. Eventually, the excitement wore off, and we let the subject drop.I never dared to challenge her story or ask her to elaborate on the details. I never asked her to explain why she'd married our father in the first place, what led him to become such a brutal man, or how she could have had children with such an oaf. I didn't ask such questions, because I knew that the answer had something to do with me, and I didn't want to remind our mother that she could have had a better life without me. With one of my parents gone, only she remained standing between me and the world. I wasn't about to give her the chance to abandon me the way she'd abandoned my dad. So I kept my questions to myself and made up the answers as I went along. My sister and I thought our mother was a brittle woman. She let us know that she was doing her best to provide for us, but she also made us feel that, if we asked for too much, she might break down under the strain. If she broke down, my sister and I would have no one but each other to look after us, and by then neither my sister nor I really trusted each other to come through in a pinch. After all, my sister at the age of eleven had known for months that we would move away from my dad. Our mother had sworn her to secrecy, and she had said nothing about it to me. Who would keep such a secret from someone she loved and trusted? My sister was not my ally. She was my mother's daughter. My sister and I both knew it was too much to ask our mother to explain in detail her reasons for abandoning our father. It wasn't her job to satisfy our curiosity, and we didn't press the issue. We just did as we were told. He was a dangerous man, and neither my sister nor I wanted any more danger in our lives. It took our dad more than a year to find us.We'd moved in August to a house in the new suburbs west of the city. There was an empty field across from our house and a shopping mall at the end of our street with a drugstore and a grocery store, and a highway beyond that. On the other side of the highway, there were apple orchards and dairy farms and a creek where my friends and I went fishing for chub with hooks fastened to string tied around branches; we sat under trees and ate beans out of tin cans that we later crushed and buried under a rock. At night I would lie on my sister's bed while she did her homework, listening to John Sprague, the disc jockey on CHUM. I liked songs like "Wolverton Mountain" and "The Battle of New Orleans" and "All American Boy", especially when Bobby Bare sang about sitting with the girls in the back seat of a Cadillac. My sister would tell me ghost stories, and sometimes we'd sneak out the side door of our house and creep around in the dark like commandos through our neighbours' backyards. It was a pretty good life, and I didn't think I missed my father. (Continue reading in Every Minute Is a Suicide...)

Table of Contents

Mom takes a husband
Just ask her to dance
White lies
A dangerous man
Sunday dinner
An available woman
Boys
Ernie Bates goes golfing
The chosen ones
Break, break, break
Adventures, with dog
Billy's dad
The man on the train
Forgiven
Separation
How I spent my summer vacation
Men of honour
Every minute is a suicide
Other men's wives

Editorial Reviews

A collection of short stories centred on a father's disappearance and his son's decades-long journey toward answers.Like the songs on [the Beatles' masterpiece Abbey Road], McDougall's stories are easily savored one at a time but they're best as a collection. Abbey Road songs whip you through the human emotional universe as do McDougall's wonderful and surprising tales. It's his first collection. I hope it's not his last. - Peter Carter