Carol Malyon: Cathedral Women
 

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Reviews of Carol Malyon's Previous Books
 
 
Mixed-Up Grandmas (1998)

Witty language and wacky illustrations combine to make this a clever story for grandmas of every persuasion.
- Todays Grandparent

Lovers & Other Strangers (1996)

Reading Love & Other Strangers is like riding a high-tech roller coaster, after the ride you don't remember which loop thrilled you the most...You just know you could easily go back, strap yourself in and do it all again.
- Sherri Telenko, id Magazine

The story that introduces Lovers & Other Strangers is entitled 'Pencils,' a brief meditation on extinction. In the story, Malyon contemplates a world without pencils. 'If the pencil's lost the story can't be written, & we need stories, to try to understand who we are.' Fortuanately for the reader, Malyon has not lost her pencil or the ability to write short stories that continue to touch us.
- Debbie Howlett, Paragraph Magazine

Malyon's curiosity is bottomless: Her imagination creates and recreates. She makes us believe that with the turn of her pen she can invite us in any direction.
No matter whose story is told, the voices speak of separateness; the details are about the lives of the outsider. But a current of recognition runs through the many voices. We keep recognizing the stories because they could be about ourselves.
- Frances Itani, The Ottawa Citizen

Malyon writes the spaces between the moments, the other fictions, stripping hers to something bare and eloquent. In sparse, direct ways, her stories explore the relationships and discords that exist between people, the sexes, memory and truth.
In stories that are less than snapshots, more than fictions, Malyon gets to the heart of the matter, telling only the details that are true, what's real.
- Rob McLennan, Ottawa X-Press

If I Knew I'd Tell You (1993)

Malyon's book reads something like a code, one most readily understood by those of us who are rooted in the same landscape and time.
If I Knew I'd Tell You does not have the cool urban humor of Malyon's earlier story collection. The adults are more troubled -- specifically by the ways we come to leave those we love: sometimes by dying, sometimes by inherited cycles of abandonment, and sometimes because we allow our caring to be clouded over.
- The Toronto Star

The novel has a quirky, often comic air as Susan wrestles with her demons and moves further and further away from conventional wisdom. The misreadings, gaps, and missed connections that haunt human relationships are at the core of this book.
- Canadian Book Review Annual

What is it in Susan's life, and in all our lives, that is too difficult to deal with? That is so troublesome that we attempt to forget it? If I Knew I'd Tell you is a nice book to read. But/and it leaves a disturbing aftertaste.
If I Knew I'd Tell You is like a photograph album: pleasant and haunting.
No lesson. No moral. Just a few poignant snapshots of familiar strangers. and as with the photos of strangers, the reader is able to insert into the series of stills just as much narrative as the somethings in his or her life make necessary.
- Prairie Fire

Emma's Dead (1992)

Emma's Dead portrays three generations of women, each with her own complex perpective on motherhood, solitude, and the burden of maturity.
Emma, immersed in her dark oblivion, begins her own solitary journey. Insulated by the destruction of her memory, Emma personifies true isolation. She embodies the dilemma about which Virginia Woolf wrote in To the Lighthouse. We perish, each alone.
- Canadian Literature

Malyon's writing fully realizes the potential of both the long narrative and the use of a single thematic issue to support a work. Her minimalistic style of writing is balanced by her ability to focus in on the kind of little details that we retain in both good and bad memories of times past. It manages to combine the elements of story and theme and does so without ever losing poetic control.
- Canadian Forum

The Edge Of The World (1991)

It is this excruciating, immaculately described fragment from a woman's life [in 'Friday Chicken'] that I take away from Malyon's story collection, like an imperfect piece of blue storm-glass with a rough edge that cuts my palm as I hold it in my pocket.
- Canadian Literature

Quirky, eccentric stories that might more appropriately be called vignettes. Malyon freezes in frames particular moments, or perceptions, experienced by her characters. Malyon's stories are minimalist, well-crafted, and at their best evoke the unspoken yearnings, the pain and pleasure of living.
- Edmonton Journal

Malyon's characters pick themselves up and keep going in their quest to find their place in the scheme of life.
In a society that worships pat answers and deifies pop philosophy, Malyon offers neither. Instead she has crafted a collection of stories whose brevity does not pre-empt the complexities that layer them.
- Canadian Library Association Journal

Malyon finds the magic even in what are apparently simple moments in apparently mundane lives.
- Event

Headstand (1990)

Headstand, with its upside-down-world cover and its elegant spare writing, is a memorable book. Malyon has captured brief scenes from very personal, universal experiences and made her readers feel them as well.
- Canadian Book Review Annual

One poem, the exquisite prize-winning 'Iris,' is itself worth the price of the book. It sketches the relationship between an aging mother and her daughter, each recalling details of the daughter's childhood differently and pretending it doesn't matter.
Malyon's attitude toward time and memory is complex, enigmatic and often contradictory. She seems intent on having it both ways, savoring the recollected detail while underplaying its value of certainty.
- Arc

Vivid: Stories By Five Women (1989)

Malyon creates graphic accounts of inevitable and damaging failures in human relationships.
- The Toronto Star

Malyon's stories act as catalysts that set your mind chasing in strange directions. They are scenes from a movie, seen out of context, and they focus your attention as much on what preceded and follows them as on themselves.
- The Ontarion