I Am Not Most Places

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Dundurn, Sep 16, 1996 - Fiction - 122 pages
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Kingston writer Richard Cumyn's second book of short stories is a remarkable collection of fiction about the curse of modernity--displacement. In striking scenes Cumyn subtly explores our own sense of abandonment and loneliness in the face of change, movement and loss. Cumyn's prose is sparse and direct, the violence supressed beneath the surface casual and foreboding. His characters are at once familiar and eerily distinct, their relationships a tender blend of heartbreak and affection. Separations achieved through illness, betrayal, aging, necessity, choice or dismissal represent an emotional x-ray of a society looking for permanence in an increasingly fluid and precarious world. This collection will haunt you like a shadow creeping over a suburban street-- all the landmarks appear familiar but each door leads to unimagined worlds. Great stories await there.


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About the author (1996)

Richard Cumyn was born in Ottawa in 1957 and grew up there except for two years in Rothesay, New Brunswick. He briefly attended Royal Military College in Kingston for an engineering degree before leaving in second year to pursue an English degree at Queen's University.

After graduation Cumyn held a number of eccentric and unrelated positions: accountant for the Inuit Tapirisat; seaman for the Coast Guard in the Queen Charlotte islands; short order cook at a rifle range; landscaper in Fort McMurray, Alberta; prospector in northern Saskatchewan; researcher for Prime Minister Trudeau; and office manager for a Baptist minister. Cumyn returned to Kingston for a a teaching degree in 1983 and then taught high school in Osgoode, south of Ottawa before leaving the position in 1991 to take up writing full time.

Cumyn's writing has been influenced by reading a variety of authors including: John Cheever, Raymond Carver, Richard Ford, John Updike, Barry Hanna, Anne Tyler, Eudora Welty, J.D. Salinger, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Alice Munro, Morley Calaghan, Norman Levine, Ernest Buckley, Michael Ondaatje, Linda Svendson, Caroline Adderson and many others.

He continues to write for literary magazines and on-line publications while completing work-in-progress on lengthier fiction. Cumyn has also published journalism articles in The Ottawa Citizen, The Kingston Whig-Standard, The London Free Press and others.Cumyn now lives in Kingston, Ontario with his wife Sharon and two daughters, Vivien and Elizabeth. His first book was published by Goose Lane Editions in 1994, The Limit of Delta Y Over Delta X. His stories have appeared in Canadian Forum, NeWest Review, The New Quarterly, Prairie Fire and in the 1994 Journey Prize Anthology, Under Western Eyes: The Best of NeWest (Thistledown Press, 1996), Stag Line: Stories By Men (Coteau Books, 1995), and The Grand-Slam Book of Canadian Baseball Writing, (Pottersfield Press, 1993).

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