Short Like a Butterfly, Brief Like a Bee

Salvatore DiFalco’s Strange The Mountie at Niagara Falls

When people get down to debating where to draw the border between poetry and prose, books like Salvatore DiFalco’s The Mountie at Niagara Falls and other brief stories will certainly get caught in the crossfire.

The book, which features 101 micro-stories, is an interesting case study in things like marketing, genre overlap, tunnel vision and authorial intent. What makes a short story a short story and not a prose poem? When is a long poem really just a story split up by line breaks and stanzas? And, perhaps most importantly, who cares?
In this case, you’d be forgiven for not caring—because no matter how you categorize these snippets, they’re fun to read.

The book is something like the younger, wackier, stupider cousin of Jonathan Goldstein’s wonderful Lenny Bruce Is Dead, in that it features stories with titles like “This Girl I Dated for Twenty-Two Minutes” or which make unapologetic fun of Brian Mulroney.

The Canadian constitution (emotional, not political) may be a mystery to some, but it’s pretty well summed up within these pages, Mounties and Niagara Falls notwithstanding.

We name our dogs Wolf and Moose; we name our boys Dougie and Charlie, we swear at each other casually on poker nights, and when our authors write short story collections subtitled and other brief stories, inevitably one of them will be about underwear, entitled “Boxers.”

We’re a shifty lot, we are.

The Mountie at Niagara Falls / Salvatore DiFalco / Anvil Press / 142 pp. / $18.00

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