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Reading: Elaine McCluskey, Rafael Has Pretty Eyes 📚

October 19, 2022 @ 7:00 pm 8:00 pm

Reading from Rafael Has Pretty Eyes by Elaine McCluskey

Wednesday, Oct. 19 at 7 p.m. | Ganong Hall Lecture Theatre at UNBSJ.

Rafael Has Pretty Eyes

“You go through life convinced you’re going to get diabetes like your old man and one day you choke to death on chicken gristle, and the autopsy shows your blood sugars were perfect.”

The seventeen stories in Elaine McCluskey’s latest collection, Rafael Has Pretty Eyes, follow characters who have reached a four-way stop in life; some are deciding whether to follow the signs or defy them; others find a sinkhole forming beneath their feet.

A former fast-talking, big-bucks radio host now lives as a divorced payday loaner working in a strip mall; a football wide receiver at a small Canadian university works the night shift as a bouncer while recovering from his third concussion; a well-liked city councilor is arrested on a packed bus. As one character puts it, “life is just one extended series of anecdotes strung together until they kill you.”

Set in the Maritimes but transcending regional boundaries, McCluskey’s stories are experimental, sometimes provocative, and often about those living on the margins. Smart, compassionate and unsparing, Rafael Has Pretty Eyes explores the absurdity and interconnectedness of a life adrift.

Elaine McCluskey writes about the people you might find in the corners of life. She has published four short-story collections — Rafael Has Pretty Eyes; Hello, Sweetheart; Valery the Great; and The Watermelon Social — and two novels, Going Fast and The Most Heartless Town in Canada. Her latest collection, Rafael Has Pretty Eyes, was released in March 2022 by Goose Lane Editions. She lives in Dartmouth, N.S. For many years, she spent countless days at paddling regattas and watched both of her children race for Canada. She has worked as a journalist, a book editor, and a university lecturer. She has a BA from Dalhousie and an MA from Western.

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