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Tracie’s Revenge & Other Stories by Wade Bell

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Tracie's Revenge & Other Stories by Wade Bell

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Tracie’s Revenge & Other Stories by Wade Bell
Guernica Editions, Jun 1 2012
150 pages

A classic short fiction writer, Wade Bell lets his characters do the talking for him, electing to stay in the background. His style is simple but he’s not afraid to pry open the heart of a character and expose it for all the world to see. Bell’s latest collection features a young wife who deliberately sets up her husband to kill or be killed; a struggling artist who is picked up by a mysterious six-foot woman at a bar; a girlfriend called Jupiter Moon; and a drill instructor who gets his kicks ordering a seven-year-old to march.  © Guernica Editions

Note from BookClubBuddy Editor

This book is worth reading for the title story alone, “Tracie’s Revenge,” which will send shocks of guilty horror and pleasure through readers as a young housewife stands at the sink daydreaming:

She thought of her husband at the saw mill and hoped an accident there would take his life so she could inherit his insurance money and the pickup truck.  If that happened she would as instantly as in that moment’s reverie transport herself to the city where she’d live in a pleasant apartment overlooking a park and at her own cautious speed select a well-off husband from among those who would court her.

This riveting story provides Tracie with an opportunity to orchestrate exactly what she wants, through no real wrongdoing of her own, though that might be debated. What’s more, Bell’s writing and story telling skills are so accomplished that as cruel and selfish as this all sounds, readers will cheer for Tracie as she takes advantage of the moment and sets her life on a new track.

The sadness of “Bandwagon” is undercut with humour. A seven-year-old boy must march whenever his mother’s lover tells him to. He wears the uniform and boots the man buys him and obeys orders. The man is proud of his hulking body, built in the army. The young boy doesn’t want to be anything like him.

While he sat on the sofa watching his favourite programs with my mother, I marched or struggled to do a pushup. His shirt was usually unbuttoned. He enjoyed rubbing his chest fuzz like it was a pet he was fond of. 

Like Tobias Wolff or Flannery O’Connor, Bell goes deep into places other writers fear to go, and the result is powerful and remarkable prose. Author of two previous collections, No Place Fit for a Child (2009) and Destroyer of Compasses (2003), Wade Bell is an award-calibre writer.

Praise for Tracie’s Revenge & Other Stories

~ In this stunning book, Wade Bell writes on the level of Raymond Carver and Roberto Bolano. He knows exactly what to leave out to make a short story great. This is a book everyone who loves great fiction and short stories will want to read. He is the master of endings and like Alice Munro keeps us guessing until the final sentence. These are stories to dwell on and ravish in. Read just one and you will be hooked! ~ Robert Hilles, author of A Gradual Ruin.

About the Author

Wade Bell’s fiction has appeared in magazines and anthologies in Canada, Japan, Spain and the U.S. and on the radio and internet. He was born and raised in Edmonton and has lived in Ottawa, Barcelona and Calgary.


Short URL: http://www.bookclubbuddy.com/?p=4860

1 Comment for “Tracie’s Revenge & Other Stories by Wade Bell”

  1. [...] my own recommendation this week, I will be reading Calgary-author, Wade Bell’s collection, Tracie’s Revenge & Other Stories after reading this review of the book on the Book Club Buddy site, which by the way is a fabulous [...]

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