Mary Borsky is a writer and teacher who grew up in Alberta and now lives in Ottawa. Her fiction has appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies as well as being broadcast on radio. She is the author of a previous story collection,Influence of the Moon and the Benny Bensky children's book series.
With this new collection of nine seamlessly told stories, Mary Borsky demonstrates why she is one of our very best practitioners of the short fiction form. These exquisitely drawn and poignant tales are about women who lead ordinary lives, but who strive for independence and identity, who seek fulfillment in love, but who are often checked by uncertainty, fear, family, children, parents, and lovers. A woman leaves her anthropologist husband when she sees that he cannot relate to her family. A single mother’s relationship with a wedding photographer founders on her young daughter’s sulky resistance to their union. A troubled young son tests the limits of a mother’s unconditional love. An old lover tries to renew an affair with a woman who yearns for love but hesitates to commit to him. A simple small town water-man protects a pregnant teenager from her bullying boyfriend. A Teenaged son feels trapped as he struggles to look after his stroke-addled father while putting up with his desperate mother. A single mother sabotages her own need for love, while her daughter yearns for a new father. A frustrated painter takes revenge on her cheating lover and chooses art over men. A mother is torn between her daughter and her own mother who needs her, but whom she dislikes.
These subtly affecting and highly readable tales have much to tell us about the vagaries of the lawless heart: about love sought out, love deferred, and love unrequited. Cobalt Blue is a completely engaging collection of stories from a most gifted writer.
Borsky's... language remains fresh and surprising, her details accurate and wryly didactic.
...the best group of stories I've read in a long time...[Borsky] creates intimacy within her stories, a sense that we are seeing deeply beneath the surface of whatever she takes our attention to. This is an exceptional accomplishment indeed.
Borsky's strength lies in her ability to infuse sad or infuriating situations with just enough humour to make them feel true to life. Her characters are like people we know, from the single mother in the apartment down the hall to the person reflected in the mirror.
Borsky is one of those hidden literary gems...
Like Raymond Carver, Mary Borsky has a stunning gift for quiet devastation. She writes about the disappointments and bewilderment at the heart of life with a puzzled, aching sense of wonder.
Mary Borsky writes with sly humour; you step back and it knocks you over. Her images swoop in, startle and surprise. But there is also an underlying current of suppressed panic, imminent disaster. I know of no other writer who can pack a wallop of tension into so few sentences, I found myself reading brilliant stories such as People Like Us and Viewfinder with my gut clenched. And then I laughed until my shoulders were shaking, and, at the flip of a page, I was pulled into real pain. The power of Borsky's writing is unrelenting.
Oh, the hapless and comical people Mary Borsky has inside her head! This book made me want to shake them out of her, gather them to me in the flesh, offer them advice, feed them soup. Attention all sensitive and generous readers everywhere: this book will open your heart. Read it and give it a home on your shelves.