by R.W. Gray
Find at your local bookstore
978-1-927063-86-6 | 2015 May | 200 Pages
ABOUT THIS BOOK
In this collection of stories, author and filmmaker R. W. Gray finds the place where the beautiful, the strange, and the surreal all meet—sometimes meshing harmoniously, sometimes colliding with terrible violence, launching his characters into a redefined reality.
A lovestruck man discovers the secret editing room where his girlfriend erases all her flaws; a massage artist finds that she has a gift, but is uncertain of the price; a beautiful man sets out to be done with beauty; and a gay couple meets what appear to be younger versions of themselves, learning that history can indeed repeat itself.
• Winner of the 2016 Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award at the East Coast Literary Awards!
• Shortlisted for the Book Design Award at the 2016 Alberta Book Publishing Awards!
• Shortlisted for the 2015 New Brunswick Book Awards!
“R. W. Gray writes like nobody else; risky, edgy, erotic, subversive, even macabre short stories, very contemporary, coded with solitude, but reaching for myth, always beautiful and astonishing.”
~ Douglas Glover, author of Savage Love and Elle
“Writing about the body is difficult because bodies are difficult: they are beautiful and awkward, strong and vulnerable, and if they frame the soul, they also house a host of unspiritual urges. Entropic, R.W. Gray’s second collection of short stories after 2010’s Crisp, is all about the body, and Gray hones in on all of these contradictions with writing that is as visceral and demanding as its subject.”
~ Julienne Isaacs, The Winnipeg Review
“Gray’s stories of unfulfilled need dance the line between unnervingly erotic and darkly familiar. Reading Entropic is like peeking at the dark space in your heart, hoping to see a light.”
~ Chelsey Stuyt, Beatroute.ca
“The poetic, but otherworldly, stories of the Prince Rupert-reared and Fredericton-based author situate themselves at the far edges of realism, where normal routines and concerns bleed into the unsteady ground of their shadowy counterparts.”
~ Brett Joseph Grubisic, The Vancouver Sun
“You will walk away shaken, unsteady, but absolutely enthralled. . . . Gray refuses the shackles of the ordinary.” full review
~ Richard Farrell, Numéro Cinq
“[w]hen Gray is good he's very good, his modern parables peeling off layers of convention to get at subconscious truths, submerged archetypes, and emotions.”
~ Alex Good, Quill and Quire
“[R.W. Gray] treads a fascinating line between realities . . . a tender, globetrotting, strongly visual collection.” full review
~ Publishers Weekly
“R.W. Gray’s second book of short stories, Entropic, is the work of a writer exploring his gifts.”
~ Jules Bentley, Plenitude Magazine
“‘Entropic’ is executed with Cronenbergian deviance, raising tingly questions about the ways lack and absence manifest.” full review
~ Shazia Hafiz Ramji, Canadian Literature
“Gray's world is populated with unique characters. Although their circumstances are strange, their emotional experiences are completely understandable.”
~ Bruce Cinnamon, Alberta Views
“...If beauty is art, then Entropic has so much layered past its skin deep surface that you have to see it for yourself.”
~ Jordan Parker, Grid City Magazine on the film, Entropic (2019)
You’d understand if you could see her. Here, in the Saturday morning street market, a black coffee in one hand, the other gently running over the spines of tattered books on a book table. Everything about her conspires toward composure. Each strand of hair flowing with the others, the perfectly cut line where her hairline parts. She’s not a woman who fidgets. She has the composure of the stone women who hold up temple roofs.
Do the melancholy candle vendor, the grim Belgian chocolatier, the slow grazing market goers feel this way around her? Redundant. Untethered, wanting to hold her hand so as to not float away.
Lost. I’ve lost sight of her.
The market air shudders. Oceans lie down on me. A flock of wingless, cawless birds fling themselves over the buildings, the Saturday shoppers motionless, paper thin and oblivious. Lost.
She turns then and I see her in profile, eating caramelized ginger delicately from a paper bag like it’s a secret between her and the ginger. Not lost.
Silly. I think, silly. Like a child. My mother must have used this word once. Many times. Don’t be silly.
I mention this to my therapist, how I lose her. It’s not the first time. He, predictably, asks how it makes me feel. Silly, I say. He, predictably, looks concerned.
I don’t tell him how I am braced for this pain now, braced waiting for the next sinkhole, for the sound to suck out of the room, and the deep, sea-floor silence to press in.
She’ll turn then, colour gushing back in, and see my furrowed forehead, throw me a subtle lift of her eyebrows to ask what’s up, as if nothing. Silly.
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