News | 2011 | The Beggar's Garden

The Beggar's Garden by Michael Christie

On Friday night, I went to a book launch for a friend of mine--Michael Christie. The event was held at Ardea Books on 4th, and really, I'd have to say it was rather a success. It was great to see Mike again, as well as many of the people I went to UBC with. Together, we got to hear some pretty cool stuff--Mike read two excerpts from his debut short story collection The Beggar's Garden. Now, I've always liked Mike's writing (and strongly urge you to get this collection), but Friday night, as I was listening to him read, I finally realized what it is about Mike's writing that so enthralls me--it's his similes. While his stories and view points are quirky and well-considered and extremely well-written, it's Mike's way of mashing two disparate images together to create a bang-on observation that always blows me away. The simile that made me realize this was a description of too-thin work gloves ("thin as the butt of an old pair of underwear") from his story "The Extra." This came on the heels of a description of the smell of a basement ("it smells bad like your wrist when you leave your watch on too long")--also from "The Extra." Ideas that when put together, create a very clear image using more than one sense--brilliant stuff.

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