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Fidelity: Stories    by Michael Redhill order for
by Michael Redhill
Order:  USA  Can
Little, Brown & Co., 2004 (2004)

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* *   Reviewed by Sally Selvadurai

After the high praise Michael Redhill garnered for Martin Sloane, I found the stories in Fidelity disappointing. Redhill's character Tom Lumsden (who appears in two stories, 'Mount Morris' and 'Split') never really develops; we are left wondering what the author is trying to portray, but maybe that's the point Tom Lumsden is insecure about whether his life is the one he really wants to be leading.

This is the essence of the book - insecure people struggling with their feelings and the events of their lives, seeming to be adrift in a sea of hopelessness. There are the parents of the teenage daughter who has betrayed their trust with her unhealthy sexual practices. A writer escapes his own romantic disaster only to be confronted by the meltdown of other people's involvements. These accounts leave the reader, along with the characters, with little hope for the future. Even in the story 'Long Division' about an unusually gifted child, we are left wondering if there is any hope for the relationship between the parents and their child or even between the parents themselves.

These short stories are not in any sense inspirational. They will not lift your spirits, but are more likely to bring them down, to the tedium of everyday existence, the monotony of spousal relationships, the nagging uncertainty of all our personal interactions. Though Fidelity was not a fun read, it does faithfully capture certain aspects of human nature at its most depressing.

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