The Dirt Chronicles– A horror story about the lives of punk street kids on the mean streets of Toronto. Ready, set, dumpster dive!!

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Kristyn Dunnion strikes hard punk gold again in The Dirt Chronicles, a Lambda Literary Award Finalist, which is mis-identified as a collection of short stories.  I can see how that labeling came about. These can be read as short stories. But, in reality, this is a novel presented from several different characters’ viewpoints and fully individual voices. It’s a little disconcerting unless you’re a fan of Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury. The story is dark, hard, gritty and it’s all about the lives of several punk street kids in Toronto. It’s not pretty. There’s the corrupt cops, drugs, rape, murder, sexual identity issues and relationship issues galore. This may not be an easy read for some folks. But if you’ve got a rebellious teenager overflowing with angst–you might want to take a hard look at the issues Dunnion deals with head on–from the perspective of the kids instead of the adults they run from.  Dunnion’s ability to present convincing male and female voices and perspectives is uncanny. Writing about such subjects with harsh realism is the forte of few. It’s verification of Dunnion’s talent as a writer every time you cringe while discovering the very dark side of street and squat life.  Oh and yes, again, this is also a love story (ies). How much does Oreo love Ferret? Enough to leave the entire world behind while pole dancing. What will Eddie do to get back to protecting Ray Ray? Whatever it takes.

Warning: This is not Patsy Cline crooning on this video.

3 Comments

  1. Roxie said,

    July 4, 2012 at 12:31 am

    Me too, it’s not the first time some ‘committee’ has designated a collection of voices as shorts… she’s got to be thinking “what the hell, did you people not read this?”

  2. Roxie said,

    July 3, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    Interesting that they categorized this as a collection of shorts, kudos for setting things in perspective…I’d heard that Kristyn Dunnion was a finalist, sounds like she may take the prize, I’ll have to check this one out, thanks Eva 🙂

    • July 3, 2012 at 8:36 pm

      Roxie, I am more than a tad perplexed by the ‘short story’ designation. Was it to make it appear more accessible to readers who might otherwise be intimidated by what I consider Dunnion’s creative use of a narrative device that advances the plot with each switch of perspective? Or a lack of comprehension of the wholeness of the storyline? Or some other purpose. I’m quite certain Dunnion knows exactly what she was doing. Between the first and last ‘story’ there is definitely totally connected plot advancement that could be skewed by the sort of random select and dip nature of short story collections in which each generally stands alone “unlinked” to others. I also find the “shorts” designation bothersome because it detracts from the solid strength of the work as a real “novel.” But I can also see how even random read the pieces ought to come together to form a cohesive whole for a reader who makes the connections.
      Thanks.


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