Standing Stones


John Metcalf is widely considered one of Canada's best writers. Standing Stones: The Best Stories of John Metcalf brings together three remarkable novellas and five critically acclaimed short stories.

The Washington Post has called his talent "generous, hectoring, huge and remarkable."

This collection showcases Metcalf's celebrated elegance as well as his trademark fusion of comedy and sadness. We meet a shy student exposed to a grotesque landlady and her horrific family; a teacher in a Borstal school who allows an entire cricket team to escape; a middle-aged dreamer who may or may not have encountered Venus outside the railway station in Milan; a sex-starved father, his purple-haired punk son, a rock band called The Iron Guard, and a bronze statue of General Jose de San Martin, which is the silent recipient of a wildly comic and deeply moving monologue.

Standing Stones: The Best of John Metcalf demonstrates why Alice Munro has said, "John Metcalf has written some of the very best stories ever published in this country" and The Oxford Companion to Twentieth Century Literature in English writes that Metcalf has an "abiding reputation as one of the finest prose stylists in contemporary Canada."


There are delights aplenty to be found in this collection of short fiction by the Ottawa editor and critic John Metcalf, most particularly the author's propensity for precisely honed sentences....Standing Stones is cleverly orchestrated.

The Globe and Mail

...this volume delivers what it promises – [Metcalf's] best.

Winnipeg Free Press

Witty and sensitive, Metcalf's stories are a delight.

Toronto Sun

...he reeled me in like a fish – but such is Metcalf's consummate skill that I loved being hooked.

Edmonton Journal

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