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The Devil You Know

Now that I’ve read Jenn Farrell’s latest collection of short stories, The Devil You Know, I understand the grim feeling of depression.

The Devil You Know
Jenn Farrel
Anvil Press
126 pp

Though written in irreproachable prose, the collection has very few moments of good humour.

Actually, scratch that, there are none. But maybe that’s what you should expect in a book with such a grim title.

Farrell’s opening story, “The Day of the Dead,” involves the typical mother-daughter tension-filled relationship, but the mother is dying of cancer and her last wishes are to be cremated, have her ashes thrown in a box and then in the garbage.

Morbidity aside, Farrell is painstakingly insightful and fearless with the intimate details her characters share. Sometimes these details are so vulgar it makes even the most tolerable person blush, but what’s even more disturbing is how highly relatable they all are.

Pick it up if you want to feel down.

This article originally appeared in The Link Volume 31, Issue 04, published September 7, 2010.

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